Sunday, November 6, 2005

Ay-Oh-Pah Expo 2005

Week One of the new job is in the books, and what a week it was.

The 2005 AOPA (pronounced in the industry as "Ay-Oh-Pah," although each letter should be said as it's the abbreviation for Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association) Expo is on the books, and we at ANN managed to put out some damn fine coverage, if I do say so myself. Those three days in Tampa also served as a great -- and educational -- introduction to the life of an aviation journalist, which is something I'll admit I'm still struggling to come to terms with. I'm not used to days of varying hours, intermittent sleep, and being in the company of people who know far, far more about aviation than I do. And it's all very intimidating... very cool, too, but very humbling.

Fortunately, I'm learning a lot too, which is what it's all about. The perpetual grin that was on my face all last week has now faded somewhat, but it's been replaced by a more thoughtful, curious smile that hopefully says "bring it on, I want to know it all, no matter how much it knocks me on my ass."

Which it has, as by the end of yesterday my editor and coworkers were all speaking of how I was showing signs of strain. Maybe it was when I offered to pay sticker price on a Beriev 103 (below), a six-passenger, 4000 lb. Russian twin-engined amphibian that, while very cool, also has a payload capacity of one SMALL person (ideally, the pilot) when loaded with full fuel. Or when I hugged the StingSport, a LSA I really, really want to own (top).

Either way, it was decided by unanimous vote that a dead newbie was of no use to ANN, so I was given today off. I spent some of it back at Peter O. Knight airport, the location of the static display for AOPA and where the photos above were taken. The airport, quite possibly the most scenic venue in all of Tampa (not saying much, alas... how can a city surrounded by the ocean be so damn dull?) is very close to The Perfect Airport. I intend to write about it in an upcoming ANN feature, so be on the lookout...

Now, onto Week Two, and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA -- clever acronym at your own risk) show in Orlando now looms. Lessons learned at AOPA will be now be practiced, before I return "home" to Dallas. (Home, in this context, is where my stuff is, but not my heart anymore.)

Stay tuned!

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