Fly the economy go again
You won’t have to go out of your way to find a beleaguered company that survived the steep drop in trade. A few dollars from several people makes a big difference to the tourism industry. While some FBOs have remained busy, or even benefited from increased private jet travel during the coronavirus pandemic (and the used jet market remains buoyant by most accounts), the weight of the economic pain inflicted by the pandemic has been borne by food providers and hospitality – wherever people gather to enjoy a shared experience. Museums, concert halls and even some large spaces with installations coming back online would love to see some new faces.
Land at Jellystone
I’m not one to shout “America first!” but maybe after this crisis, your next travel destination should be somewhere in the United States? I was planning a trip to Sicily, and while it might be safer to get there by the end of the year, I think I’ll head to Yosemite National Park in California instead. I’m sure the staff who work in these lodges, restaurants and souvenir shops are suffering with income after two limited tourist seasons.
People from all nations of the world have seen their lives disrupted by the loss of jobs, income and family, and it is likely that tourism from overseas will be significantly reduced for some time. American travelers, like me, can help offset the decline in international visitor numbers, making this an opportune time to visit one of our many US national parks. For the past two summers, many parks were open for driving, parking and hiking, but most facilities — visitor centers, shops, restaurants and lodging — remained closed. National park sites that are primarily museums or historic buildings have been closed. Most are now open, but visitors are encouraged to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing as much as possible. Each park’s operations are continually adjusted by the National Park Service, so research the park you want to visit ahead of time to understand what facilities are available.
When you fly to visit one of our National parks, you’ll rent a car for sightseeing, book a campsite or hotel room, and shop at the camp store or dine at the park’s restaurants. This is the best thing you can do: distribute your money to the workers who have suffered from this health and financial crisis.
$100 burger—with pie
In my local flight area, most restaurants at the airport were closed during the 2020 summer flying season and opened for socially distanced outdoor dining in 2021. Even with their best efforts, their revenue has been significantly reduced. reduced. Most airport restaurants are now fully open, so grab that $100 burger every chance you get. Splurge on the pie, order something extra to take away. Refuel your plane after dinner and spend time and money at an airport-based aviation museum.
Get together, safely
If you are fully vaccinated, it is reasonably safe to attend outdoor gatherings. Personally, I would not attend a concert where people are piled up, shoulder against shoulder, shouting and singing. But, wandering on the line of flight, maybe at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, that sounds reasonable to me. You can chat about anything aviation related from a social distance of six feet or any distance you choose, masked or not. Make your own decisions based on your medical situation. There’s no healthier way to sleep than in a tent under the stars of the Midwest. AirVenture is being held at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin July 25-31.
For fans of Piper Aircraft, or just vintage fabric airplanes, another fly-in where you can camp is the Sentimental travel flight. The annual gathering of Piper aircraft and pilots at the original Piper Aircraft Corp. factory site. in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania may be a lot smaller than AirVenture, but it’s just as friendly. You can spend the day looking at vintage Piper planes, testing your skills in an on-site landing competition, chatting with other pilots and plane restorers, and enjoying the evening corn and pie boil. music before sleeping under your wing. This year’s Sentimental Journey will be held at the William T. Piper Memorial Airport in Lock Haven, June 21-25.
follow your path
Many pilots are fans of the book Passing Flight by Rinker Buck, a touching (true) story of two teenagers who restored a Piper J-3 Cub and flew it across the United States in 1966. I know several pilots who liked the book so much that they traced the journey of these intrepid teenage pilots. Maybe summer 2022 should be the season when we do our own passing flights?
Remember that medical professionals have made great strides in preventing and treating COVID-19, but people are still dying. The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to mutate, and it is impossible to predict how this will affect the safety of being around other people. It is not finished yet. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, to stay alert to changing circumstances, and to agree to wear masks again if needed – or whatever may be necessary to keep everyone safe.
let’s do what we can
We can’t fix the economy on our own, but we can help keep the businesses that make traveling in our planes fun and interesting. If we all do this, planes and pilots will stay ready to fly anywhere, and there will more likely be fun things to do and smiles to greet us when we get there.