Webinars, Cherry Bombs and Flying Schools
Flying|December 2020
Confidence is a drug. Use it only as prescribed.
MARTHA LUNKEN
OK, this is a little out of character, but last night, I “joined” (I think that’s the term) an aviation webinar—mostly because it was presented by the son of my friend Barry Schiff but also because the subject was intriguing.

Brian Schiff is an interesting guy. Longtime captain for a major airline, Brian was soloed by his famously prolific aviation dad on his 16th birthday. At heart, he has always been a GA guy who owns and flies a Citabria and is an active, accomplished flight instructor. His presentation, “SoCal Airspace Anomalies,” dissected the intricacies of navigating the challenging (to put it mildly) Southern California airspace— legally. At some time after 11 p.m., glassy-eyed and numb-brained, I left the webinar for bed. But I was so impressed with Brian’s briefing and his low-key, fun and (deceptively) casual manner as an instructor that, before climbing into the sack, I emailed father and son Schiff, “Great presentation, learned a lot…mostly, ‘Stay the hell out of SoCal airspace.’”

Not surprising, I dreamed about flight instructing that night—real and mostly sweet memories of old students and airplanes interspersed with nightmare fantasies of being a flight instructor in Southern California and headaches about the current FAA airman certification standards licensing requirements. And I remembered (yeah, here I go again), years ago, before I was a CFI, when a local flight school operator and pilot examiner named Don Fairbanks had a well-attended monthly get-together for area flight instructors. They met on the second floor of the Lunken Airport terminal building in a clubroom/ bar operated, to this day (usually for something more alcoholic than education), by the Greater Cincinnati Airmen Club.

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