July 26, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
Almost 250 pilots have risen to the Georgia Air Challenge, which is offering registered participants who fly at least three hours and visit three Georgia airports a chance to win prizes and have a lot of fun between now and Aug. 13.
The challenge has been more than a fun excuse to fly. Pilots are telling the organizers that the event has been a great reason to get airborne and meet recency-of-experience requirements. One couple doubled down on the idea—flying six hours and visiting six Georgia airports so that both pilots could declare themselves ready. The pair also took the opportunity to break in their aircraft’s new engine and made plans to stop off in Moultrie, Ga., to tour the Maule Aircraft factory.
“The comments we have gotten on our comment page are overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic,” said Steve Champness, president of the Atlanta Aero Club, in an email message. “‘Thanks for the incentive to get current again.’ ‘Great Promotion of Aviation in Georgia!’ ‘What a fun idea!’” were among messages the organizers received.
The challenge was originally to conclude at the end of July, but was extended to Aug. 13 to allow pilots attending EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., more time to complete their Georgia flying, Champness said.
He announced that a barbecue cookout will take place Aug. 13 at Gwinnett County/Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville for all participants and Aero Club members. The cookout will be sponsored by Derrick Dennis, president of ATP Flight Schools, he said.
Pilots interested in taking up the Georgia Air Challenge are urged to register online at the event website.
Other states including Kentucky, Maryland, and Virginia have designed their own events intended to get pilots flying, promote general aviation, and support local airport businesses.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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