When people call me a “Geek” these days, I accept it as a term of endearment, especially with the advent of social media. In fact, that’s why our radio show’s called The Airplane Geeks. It’s actually pretty cool to be a geek.
But it’s time to come clean and admit that there’s actually a storm brewing — a nice storm if you will — of buzz about aviation as an industry and the companies and airports that help keep it aloft sorely need.
Geekdom is about the kind of buzz that traditional media just can’t top either. That’s because we social media types look into corners of our industry often missed … for the people behind the stories of the stuff that makes the industry tick. Hook up a bunch of aviation geeks with an event like AirVenture in Oshkosh – the largest airshow in North America BTW – and the result is the purest nirvana. Luckily, we aviation social media geeks were blessed early on by EAA folks like Dick Knapinski (@eaaupdate) who took us new media types seriously before anyone else, not to mention Scott Spangler who again made Jetwhine a popular stopping point all week. And we can’t forget the folks at Wittman Regional Airport who each year lend EAA their concrete for a few weeks.
In case you’re not yet an airplane geek, here are a few things you might have missed during last week’s mashup of aviation and social media.
Wednesday of last week Dan Pimental from the Airplanista blog pulled out all the stops with the first ever Airplanista awards for the social-media savvy people who had a role the past year in making aviation more … well, social.
Dan runs Celeste Daniels Advertising and Design by day. But in his off hours, his alter-ego is all airplanes and hence his idea for the first (annual?) #OSHbash to recognize the people who, in their own unique ways, were using social media to make aviation popular again. And the winners were, along with their Twitter handles …
Airplanista of the Year: @OpenAirplane (Rod Rakic @rodrakic/Adam Fast @adamcanfly)
Podcaster of the Year @JackHodgson (Jack Hodgson)
Most Innovative Use of Twitter @EAAupdate (Dick Knapinski)
Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year @PilotsFlightBag (Paul Lemley)
Mover/Shaker Award @Captain_Ron (Ron Klutts)
Volunteer of the Year @MartinSantic (Martin Santic)
Spirit of Airplanista Award @Wiredforflight (Sam Wiltzuis)
Future of Aviation Award @THM_18 (Thomson Meeks
Master of Snark Award @Airplanology (Ben Davison)
Congeniality Award @LarryOverstreet (Larry Overstreet)
As social media becomes more sophisticated in its production as well as distribution, we can’t possibly talk AirVenture without mentioning Other People’s Airplanes. David Allen created this TV show with the help of his teammates Damon, Chris, Michael and John to bring the non-pilot a glimpse of the world we geeks inhabit on a daily basis. And beside producing a tantalizing show, Dave has such cool gear … it’s soooo geeky.
Here’s a glimpse at one of my favorites episodes of their’s from this year, a look at Honda’s appearance at AirVenture. Nice job guys.
What would AirVenture be without food. And what says AirVenture food better than bacon … I think. No one says bacon better than AirPigz creator, Martt Clupper. Anyone and everyone who’s involved in telling geeky airplane stories all year long attends his annual bacon bash too. Put it on your calendar for 2014. Visit AirPigz for the latest as show time draws near, not to mention cool content all year long.
Social media has revolutionized the way we talk about the industry we love as it has other industries as well. If you know someone with a hankering to be a part of aviation but isn’t really sure where to start, you simply must tell them about the fine work of hundreds of dedicated aviation geeks. There’s only one place to find them all too … stop by at Max Flight’s 30,000 ft.com directory. If it’s not listed there, it’s not worth listening to.
What I’ve always found to be the best part about social media geeks at AirVenture is that like the people on whom they report, airplane geeks are just normal people … folks who love listeners and readers that stop by to say hi and shoot the breeze about airplanes … no matter how old you are.
I wish we’d had something like social media years ago when I was a kid at EAA. It would have helped me enormously.
And BTW, I celebrated my 50th anniversary of my first attendance at this annual EAA event. I was just 13 way back in the Rockford Airport days when it was all simply called the EAA Fly In. Got my first aviation job at EAA in 1963 — waving orange sticks around to help park airplanes — not to mention my first ride in a flying machine — one of the Bell 47s with Captain Rick. It’s been a blast and I wouldn’t want to miss next 50 years either. I’ll also be eternally grateful to all the people who encouraged me as a kid.
We did miss a few folks who couldn’t make the show this year, like the other guys from the Airplane Geeks … David, Max, Steve, Grant and Pieter. And of course, most of all, Auntie Benet — @avqueenbenet — who was reportedly chained to her desk at AOPA HQ keeping the rest of the world informed about all things aviation.
Maybe next year folks.
Rob Mark, Publisher