I would like to start by wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season.
The holiday season, which is typically a time for socializing, Christmas parties, and getting together with family and friends, is different this year in many ways from past years. The pandemic has changed normality and forced cancellation of many holiday events around the world this year as governments put restrictions in place to try and limit the spread of the virus.
I certainly will not miss 2020 as it finds its place in the history books. We do have reason for optimism as we look forward to 2021. Events and activities should slowly return to normal as people get vaccinated and we get the virus under control. Hopefully, by the summer we can start scheduling fly-outs and other social events for people to enjoy.
Amid the pandemic, the Washington Pilots Association is still working for you! We are working with airport managers and legislators to look out for General Aviation interests. Many educational and training activities have gone on-line to help maintain currency. Simulation Flight is open for business where pilots can train for their instrument rating. IFR rated pilots can maintain their instrument currency, plus they can get an IPC and may at the same time get a BFR (provided they are current with landings). And, thanks to Jerry Barkley we have announced a WPA benefits program where you can save on pilots supplies and services. Many pilots are already saving when they order from Aircraft Spruce.
General Aviation use has actually increased during the pandemic as many pilots and individuals feel it is safer to travel by GA then the airlines during these times.
The Snohomish County Council and Paine Field Airport management have formed the “Master Plan Stakeholder Committee”, and you will be pleased to know that your local WPA chapter has two representatives on the committee: Rich Jones and Gregg Ortega. With the closure of runway 11/29 additional real estate becomes available for FBOs, fuel suppliers, hangers, tie-down, and possibly a restaurant. Their job is to make sure that GA interests at Paine Field are represented and that a share of the new real estate that becomes available is used for GA purposes.
One event we were able to participate in this year was the work party at the Skykomish Airport.
Finally, if you have not yet renewed your membership in WPA, please do so ASAP and please consider donating to the Youth Scholarship Fund as our Christmas party fund raising event was cancelled this year. Your membership in WPA is important to us as we continue to work to protect GA interests at Paine Field and around the state.
Please enjoy the holiday season while staying safe and healthy!