Does Parochialism Hinder Aviation’s Future

By Scott Spangler on June 24th, 2010

Last weekend I had the honor of being a guest on Airplane Geeks, thanks to my co-conspirator Rob Mark, who is one of the quartet of regulars. It was my inaugural podcast (Episode 101), and I greatly enjoyed the wide ranging aviation conversation, and I hope they invite me back.

Airplane GeeksIn getting to know each other, Max Flight, the lead geek, asked about my other aviation activities. In the course of talking about the different aviation and non-aviation subjects I write about, I mentioned that writing for JetWhine was my favorite aviation gig.

The geek quartet seemed surprised at this. So I explained that this exquisite forum gives me the freedom to report and comment on the many facets of aviation I find interesting, unrestrained by the narrow editorial focus of most print and many online publications.

Pondering this self-inflicted epiphany during my celebratory post-podcast whiskey and cigar, publishing’s parochial focus makes sense in a media-rich environment. This outlook also seems to describe many who read them. If something doesn’t apply to their narrow aviation interest, they dismiss or ignore it. I wonder how this attitude has affected aviation to date. It certainly hasn’t done much for American politics.

Pie Chart For decades the slices have been fighting for a dominant share of the shrinking aviation pie. The conflicts are many: When it comes to paying for the national airspace system it’s the airlines versus general aviation. Airport access  issues often pit business against recreational aviators. Military and civilians take sides on who can use what airspace. Things get more contentious when the mix involves helicopters, light-sport aircraft, amateur-built experimental aircraft, powered parachutes, and weight-shift trikes.

Has anyone really considered the consequences of this internecine squabbling and parochial view of the world? The “surprise” of AB-48 is, perhaps, the most recent example of what can happen when people don’t think about their connections to the outside world—and events taking place there that might affect them. (See Pay Attention to California School Regs.) The evitable introduction of UAVs into American airspace is surely the next donnybrook.

Collectively, aviation is a minority in the economic and political tableau of American life.  To survive the growing challenges we all face, it makes sense that the tiny slices of aviation unite as a whole pie of mutual support to prosper in an ever demanding world. But given the entrenched narrow  interests of its participants, I wonder, is this possible? – Scott Spangler


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2 Responses to “Does Parochialism Hinder Aviation’s Future”

  1. Jeff Reich Says:

    Scott is right on with his point that we must work together, at least in concert, using our individual skills as a team to restore our industry. We have all come to know and focus on our best traits. Now let us use what we each have learned in order to speak out effectively “…to prosper is this ever demanding world,” as Scott put it.

    As I told someone who reached out to me yesterday as a result of my BizAv blogs on Forbes’ “Wheels UP,” do not be afraid to speak out. The issue with our industry is that we have feared interacting with the non-aviator business people that we serve. We must integrate our functions. We must not let the only things to be said to non-aviators about our industry be the ‘popular’ media! It is time to take advantage of our new modern medias; social venues like Facebook and professional ones like, LinkedIn, as well as established media venues that will publish what we have to say – like “Wheels Up” at Forbes.

  2. Let’s Discuss the Future of Flight Training - Jetwhine: Aviation Buzz and Bold Opinion Says:

    […] is the Route to Prosaic Mediocrity; Does Parochialism Hinder Aviation’s Future?; Becoming a Pilot: Is it a Relevant Choice?; Pay Attention to California School Regs; NIFA […]

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