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airport_visitation_part3

THE CREATION OF AN AIRPORT VISITATION PROGRAM - PART 3

 

Selections from our new product launch series”

 

By TC FREEMAN

 

      Part one of this series on creating an airport visitation program dealt with the mission from a “why” perspective. Part two was a deep dive into more of the logistical considerations when considering airports, museums and safety seminar parameters. In part three, we will let the “rubber will hit the runway,” discussing some of the challenges to the program and how to best handle and prepare for them.

      Operationally, one of the most challenging issues deals with the stamps pilots use in their “passports” to get credit for visiting the various airports, museums and seminars. Occasionally, the stamps are missing, moved or misplaced, or they are the victims of general wear and tear. The great news is that the pilots are key to informing you when stamps are missing or inaccessible at an in intended location. However, the variable in this situation is the persistence of the pilot and Fixed Based Operator (FBO) staff. Larger airports typically have a large customer service staff with high turnover which means that many of the employees simply are not aware of the program. I’ve personally experienced the passport stamps being difficult to locate at a few locations. The best suggestion we offer to pilots via the web site’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) is to think of the program as a“treasure hunt” for the stamp. Asking customer service to please look for a large clear pencil box typically has a positive result. Smaller airports can have limited hours resulting in pilots not being able to access the stamp. We have eliminated this problem by installing special mailboxes that contain the stamps for after-hours access. Airports or other locations where we know the stamp may be a challenge to find are noted on our website with specific directions on where to locate it.


                   Bob Oglesby, Displaying the Silver Level OP: Fly NC jacket

      Another stamp issue pertains to general wear-and-tear. Ink stamps won’t last forever. They get dropped, abused, the ink runs out, etc. I initially bought self-inking stamps thinking this was the way to have a stamp and pad included in one easy unit, but the internal pad eventually runs out of ink. If I had it to do over again I would buy a one-piece stamp with a supplemental ink pad. I know stamps can last for up to a couple of decades and ink pads can be replaced periodically. Remember, no obstacles are insurmountable and can be overcome with some creativity.


Jay Darmstadter, 1st to complete MD, VA, SC and NC!

      We have been fortunate to have sponsorships by what I call “trailblazers,” forward thinking people and organizations that get our vision and mission. Having said that it is good to remember that space in the booklet and web site can be used to advertise the contribution of sponsors at various levels such as bronze, silver and gold. Speaking of "trailblazers," in light of Jay Darmstadter being the first to complete the MD, VA, SC and NC programs the States are collaborating on the NEW "Multi-State Challenge" where pilots can earn an additional state patch to put on their home state jacket! Here's your chance to come aboard.

      On a personal level, I have received great satisfaction in creating a program that benefits my fellow pilots. I humbly feel that an airport visitation program leaves a legacy that can go on for several decades to come. We are happy to offer any advice, consultation and “turn-key” solutions to set up a program for your State (email TC FREEMAN). Are you ready to create an aviation legacy?




This Could be Your State's Pilot Ambassador Program Passport!





Airport Visitation Articles:

http://wingsofun.com/airport_visitation_part1.html
http://wingsofun.com/airport_visitation_part2.html
http://wingsofun.com/airport_visitation_part3.html

About the author:

TC Freemanhas been flying since he was a teenager and is now an aviation speaker and author. Being employed as an Aviation Safety Specialist for state government, he has a passion for spreading the thrill of flying just for the fun of it via the website, www.WingsOfun.com.


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