For an industry that’s suffering its worst setback possibly ever this year with COVID-19, there’s a lot of GA activity around. Last weekend I jumped in the plane and flew it back from having a service to home base. It was the first really good weather day we had seen in ages. I was amazed at the amount of traffic at every small airport I crossed. The radio was buzzing. Comparing that to my flights in the early days of COVID-19, it feels like we’re back. Bigtime. I was testing the new autopilot (you can read about that upgrade in this edition) and it was just as well, because I was kept busy on the radio at times. From 6500 feet in a clear blue sky with good visibility, the horizon is around 100 miles away. That means you looking at over 7000 square miles of land and sea on a clear day. And the view was glorious. Green rolling hills, the bay and sea in the distance. A god’s eye view of the world and something that we get to enjoy as pilots.

As the borders open, I can imagine that we’re going to see touring increase a lot. Of course, commercial traffic will be slow to return and we won’t see any significant increase in international traffic until this thing either goes away or we find a cure or vaccine. But for those of us with access to an aircraft and the license to fly, the whole of Australia will be there for us to tour and visit. This edition we will show you some of the places you can go and events coming up that you can fly in to. If you’ve got an event or a destination that can be flown in to, let us know so we can feature it in the digital space and the next edition. We got plenty of feedback from you on the last edition in the new format. The new larger format was well received and you told us which stories you wanted to see more of. We’ve incorporated that feedback into this edition and we will keep fine tuning the magazine to make sure it has what you want.

This edition we also say goodbye to Michael Linke as CEO of RAAus. Having worked with Michael over the last year on SportPilot and digital content, I can say first-hand that as a CEO Michael is an intelligent and straightforward person to deal with. That’s actually high praise coming from me, because in our line of work that can be a rare combination. It is never going to be an easy job running the organisation that is both an advocate for recreational aviation and the regulator. Michael has managed to balance both of those roles. It’s a tough gig and I thank him for his efforts and wish him well in the future. This year has been challenging for all of us, especially for those of us in Victoria. We’re all looking forward to a break soon and from the team at SportPilot and on behalf of RAAus we wish you all the best for the new year, with clear skies and a following wind.