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Ron Panton of Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 187 is a member of LAMP (Learning Activities for Mature Persons), a lecture and seminar series at the Osher Lifelong Learning Center on the UT-Austin campus. He didn’t attend my “Pilot Error in Fact and Fiction” presentation there on January 24, 2013, but he read the summary and thought the Chapter might be interested in hearing it at one of their monthly meetings. Ron contacted Mark Petrosky, who in coordination with the Chapter president Anthony Plattsmier coordinated with me to speak last evening at the Wells Branch Community Library.
Mark sent out an eblast to Chapter members with MailChimp and did a great job with the layout, which included a bio, photos, the title page slide of the PowerPoint presentation, the wraparound covers for the paperback versions of my books, and this great lead-off image, which I assume is reproduced here with permission.
As originally designed, the presentation assumes an audience of normal people who don’t subject themselves to the flyer’s world, consisting of hours of boredom interspersed with moments of sheer, stark, raving terror. The invitation created a dilemma of sorts, in that parts of the presentation delve into topics that are unfamiliar to non-aviators but self-evident to pilots. I didn’t want to insult the collective experience and skill in the room, nor did I relish revising the slides and script.
The solution I chose was to alter the objective of the talk by moving more quickly through the fundamental subject matter and show them how I chose to explain to non-aviators what it’s like up there in the cockpit, and in particular, how pilot actions can affect the final outcome when something goes wrong.
In the aftermath, I can report that the audience appeared to be interested throughout the presentation, and two members of Chapter 187 mentioned other speaking opportunities that I might consider. The answer, of course, is sign me up.
Thanks to Ron, Mark, and Anthony for the invitation and the Chapter’s welcoming attitude. The experience was both a pleasure and an honor.