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Change Is Good

By Dan Grunloh, Editor - Light Plane World, EAA 173888

Dan Grunloh

My prediction for 2012 is that there will be many changes. Some have already begun, and I want to offer a few words taken from a classic science fiction movie. In the 1984 movie Dune, Duke Leto Atreides tells his young son Paul that change is good and not to be feared. He says, "Without change something inside us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken!" It's a good message for all of us including those in the news this month.

Mary Jones at EAA will have more time for herself with a reduced workload. She deserves to have more free time after 28 years as a writer and editor in the world of ultralights and light planes, but I suspect she won't slow down much. Roy Beisswenger will have time to finish his book on powered parachutes now that he is not tied to a live studio feed every Tuesday for Powered Sport Flying Radio. You can check out my report of Roy's interview with Mary in this issue, but I feel confident they both will agree that change can be good. They both will have some new and interesting opportunities.

Sport pilot flight instructor and guest columnist Pam Lance wouldn't dispute the idea that change can be good. She describes the experience of flying her LSA as "feeling like Alice in Wonderland." Every pilot has probably had the experience at some point of looking past the windscreen at the horizon and thinking, "The sleeper has awakened." That's the kind of thing that can happen when you make a significant change.

The pilots of Operation Migration will hopefully enter a new phase in their operations where they have real paperwork to support their flying legally, rather than a verbal nod and handshake. It will be a test for the FAA to see if it can respond to the needs of a small but important contingent of our flying community. If conditions for an exemption or waiver cannot be worked out, Operation Migration might have to purchase new E-LSA and arrange for approval from the manufacturer for the modifications that will be needed. The situation suggests the need for a new pilot rating as discussed by Paul Hamilton in the June 2011 Light Plane World guest editorial, "Commercial Trike Pilot Certificate Needed."

Ultralight and light plane manufacturers that have struggled to keep their doors open in this time of economic recession aren't likely to be that excited about recent changes. Along with many former ultralight pilots, they yearn for the past when sales were brisk and it was easy to introduce newcomers to flight. We can't easily make that happen right now, but when change is forced upon us there may be openings for new experiences that will wake up our problem-solving skills. Many of us who successfully transitioned from ultralights to light-sport aircraft would agree that a whole wide world of new experiences have become possible. It's not as easy as in the past, but the rewards are greater.

Whatever your challenge in 2012, remember those words about why we need change. It may be time for the sleeper to awaken.

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