Jesse Jackson said it at the 1988 Democratic Party Convention. “Keep hope alive.” Tonight I spent the evening — in fact Adam and I have spent much of the past two days — with aviation people who are keeping the hope of general aviation, of flying for the common man, of the freedom of flight, alive here in Malaysia. These are the people of the EAA chapter here at the Subang Airport in Kuala Lumpur. They have hosted something like twelve EarthRounders over the years, in each case providing support, companionship, advice, and hospitality to each of us as we pass through, whether to the east or to the west, whether in a jet or a trike, whether ultimately successful or no, even, sadly, whether ultimately surviving the attempt. But more important than what they do for us, is what they do for each other and for the spirit of aviation as a basic human drive, resistant to government repression and to the ever-increasing cost of maintaining and flying an aircraft, whether humble or grand.
After a celebratory dinner, several of us adjourned to the bar and talked aviation. Our frequent companion and advisor these past two days, Manisylvan Thirumalai, counseled us on the departure procedure from Subang, from which we will launch in just a few hours for the eight-hour flight to Bali. Mani, as he is known, grew up in the general aviation culture here in Malaysia and now flies an Airbus for Air Asia.
Tell the FAA to scrap all that NextGen plan that is costing so much money. Just tell all the towers to get a yahoo email account. Problem solved. (OK, we might want to go with gmail, but you get the point…)
4AM alarm for a 7AM departure for an 8-hour flight to Bali tomorrow, hoping to avoid the afternoon thunderstorms that all of the professional pilots here tell us are routine later in the day along our route. Let you know how it works.