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Push To Talk – The Problem as I See It

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May 2012

 It’s right about this time that I begin to have traces of nausea over the volume of political speeches I’ve been subjected to since we started all this presidential election folderol that doesn’t end until this November. I’ve heard about how one candidate or another will impact the Latino vote, the health care industry, auto workers, and so on. Despite the 24 hour-a-day sound bites, the frantic waving of red, white and blue flags and rampant baby kissing, I can tell you with great confidence there is no one who seems to care about General Aviation.

And most of that is because we as a group are just too darned small to show up on the proverbial radar. According to the FAA, there are a little more than 600,000 folks in the United States who have a pilot license, but less than 200,000 have a medical and are actually slipping the surly bonds on even a quasi-regular basis. In the bigger picture, that’s not a very big family.

To give you some perspective on just how small a group we aviators are, Lady Gaga has more than 20 million Twitter followers. (President Obama has just over 12 million.) The American Sportfishing Association estimates about 40 million people fish. Approximately 65 million play chess, 75 million play tennis and about 3.5 BILLION people are soccer fans. In a recent census in Britain, more than 390,000 people listed their religion as “Jedi.” All that, compared to just 200,000 active pilots…

Clearly we all need to do more to increase the number of pilots and other aviation-friendly folk. To help steer you in the right direction, use the following multiple choice questions to help you identify the folks who have the greatest potential of joining us in the sky.

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