If I were asked to describe what our fly-in is all about, I might first start out to mention all the aircraft, different makes and models, number of wings, landing gear, etc. This is my normal response to questions about the event and I answer this way because for those who haven’t been, that is all they really want to know. Yet this quietly bothers me.
I’ll be the first to admit there are places where more intense collections of antiques gather, paved surfaces where more heavy iron can be found, and cold static museum campuses where more high rollers show up to hand out the money in exchange for rewards. I’ve been to every one of these places and they do very little for me. Because of this, not too long ago I realized maybe the fraternity mentality is good for our kind of aviation.
Perhaps the narrow minded, glory seeking, Nomex flight suits with flammable tennis shoes wearing warbird types are weeded out because of it. And maybe the stodgy condescending low time spotless vintage aircraft types would go somewhere else because of the common folks here at our event. And hopefully those who believe old airplanes should be parked for eternity would simply know better than to show their faces here. And you know what, I was right.
You see, I contend that if anyone spent time working for AOPA, they would come away with the idea the middle class of aviation is disappearing. Have you read AOPA, scanned their emails, or observed the growing number of elite AOPA branches? Yes, I am pretty sure that if you were part of the AOPA culture, you would either be run off or you would fit right in to their culture of $15,000 panels, turbine aircraft, and editorials about civility. And if you fit into this mold, you likely don’t visit Lee Bottom.
As evidence of this, during the fly-in, a bubbly female volunteer went for her first plane ride. Here's the rest of the story.
When the drawing was held on Saturday, a friend of ours from Florida held the winning ticket. Jim Jarvis is an attorney that gives attorneys a good name. Simply put, it’s hard not to like his never ending desire to get a little more fun out of life. Therefore, when he won, all his friends offered to let him buy drinks. Jim had other ideas.
You folks are the best!