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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

From Bits and Pieces Newsletter, October 2014

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Ian Brown“Wow, I love it. It was beautiful!” That’s what my friend’s significant other said after her first flight in his newly purchased RV-6A. The day was perfect, calm winds, no thermals, and gorgeous fall colours. It made me realize that picking the perfect moment for a first flight is really important.

The old, perhaps really old, saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” is never more important than when introducing people to flying. I can think of a couple of errors I’ve made personally when taking someone for his first flight. Most seasoned pilots wouldn’t think twice about variable conditions, but first-time passengers often do. Bumpy air, strong winds, haze, and even that whiff of avgas from the fuel sampler can all have a negative effect, especially on a passenger with a queasy stomach.

Where am I going with this? Not far, really - I just had the idea that since most of us want to see more pilots in the future, making that first experience a stellar one via attention to detail might be more important than we think, whether it’s a friend or a Young Eagle we’re flying.

We’ve had quite a late fall in most parts of Canada due to mild temps and just the right amount of rain to keep the leaves where they are. Calgary had snow very early in September, but even Alberta is enjoying pleasant weather as we roll into October. The autumn colours and less bumpy air provide us with some of the best flying weather. Even the once-in-a-while pilots are out flying, and airports can get really busy, especially on weekends. So it’s also a time to be extra alert.

Fall colours fly-ins are a great tradition in Canada. Not only do you get a chance to enjoy that incredibly expensive hamburger and meet friends, but you get to view unbeatable landscapes on the trip. I’ve never gone to a fly-in where I didn’t learn something new about aircraft and flying.

Now is the time to call that friend, neighbour, or colleague to say, “Want to go flying?” Do it now.

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