Are you ready for a challenge

Spring time for many is the beginning of the flying season (unless you are fortunate enough to fly all year long).  For the last few years, we’ve heard from lots of members who haven’t been flying as frequent as they’d like for a variety of reasons.   While we can‘t solve all the reasons not to fly, we thought it would be fun to create a REASON to fly.  Last week, AOPA announced the launch of the “ AOPA Keep ‘Em Flying Challenge.”

The new AOPA challenge was inspired by the Georgia Air Challenge, which was hosted by the Atlanta Aero Club. It had 308 participants who flew an estimated 1,500 hours from July 1, 2011, through Aug. 12, 2011.  Steve Champness, president of the Atlanta Aero Club, felt the Georgia effort could be expanded, and worked with AOPA to create the national challenge.

This new effort falls under AOPA’s 2012 theme, ‘Keep ʼem Flying,’ which was designed to get more people to fly general aviation and keep them flying.  Under the challenge, which runs from April 1 through July 31, 2012, pilots must do the following:

  1. Complete an Air Safety Institute online course;
  2. Fly at least five hours; and
  3. Fly in an aircraft serving as pilot in command to five airports or destinations that are more than fifty 50 nautical miles from the immediately preceding departure point.

Those in the Lighter than Air and Glider aircraft categories are exempt from the last two tasks, but instead must make five flights.   The challenge is open to any aircraft category, class, or type.  Participants must be at least 19 years old, hold at least an FAA Student Pilot Certificate and the flight must be conducted under and in accordance with FAR Part 91.

AOPA will use an honor system, where pilots can electronically certify that they met the criteria listed above, at Participants will be encouraged to use Facebook and Twitter to post pictures and update their progress. The winners will be announced at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Palm Springs, Calif., in October.  Prize winners will be required to produce log books that verify their entry.  The grand prize winner will receive a cash award of $2,499. The second place winner will receive $1,000, while the third place winner will receive $500. Four fourth place winners will receive $250 each.

So, if you’re up for the challenge, get out there and fly!