Blogging in Formation: Aviation Social Media Seems to be Reaching 'Critical Mass'

7:56 PM

By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

As our aviation family faces more and more threats from all directions, it feels to me like an increasing number of Airplanistas are turning to social media as the vehicle to elevate the discussion about these issues. Whether it's blogging, Facebook, or my personal favorite social platform, Twitter, I'm seeing more pilots using their writing skills to "talk" to fellow aviators and push aviation forward.

On Twitter, the conversation is lively, with new names showing up every day to embrace this fast-paced, real-time worldwide chat room. On Facebook, my stream is filled with new friends who are passionate about giving back to a community of aviators any way they can. On both of these platforms, we learn every day how so many in aviation are stepping it up, turning their passion for flight into aggressive interactions that keeps more of us on the same page as we work towards a brighter GA future.

But the one place I see huge movement forward is in the number of bloggers that are producing exceptional content to tantalize, educate and bond this community. When you read the definition of "Critical Mass" it does feel like the aviation family is approaching that threshold:
"In social dynamics, critical mass is a sufficient number of adopters of an innovation in a social system so that the rate of adoption becomes self-sustaining and creates further growth. Social factors influencing critical mass may involve the size, interrelatedness and level of communication in a society or one of its subcultures. Another is social stigma, or the possibility of public advocacy due to such a factor."
One of the bloggers out there making it happen with his blog is Brent Owens, who came up with the idea of this six-blogger series. Each week, six seasoned bloggers will all write about a single topic, with a different blogger's post publishing each day Monday through Saturday. It is a brilliant concept because while one blogger's work is posted on a particular day, the other five will be out there on social media promoting that post and the series as a whole. So the chance for increased overall buzz is very real. Once I happily accepted Owens' invitation to join, I put on my aviation marketing hat and came up with the name..."Blogging in Formation."

When you start looking at this collection of aviation bloggers and the content they produce, it really is a talent pool that makes Owen's concept that much more rewarding. Here's my $.02 cents worth on each blog:

Brent Owens - iFLYblog

Brent is a Falcon 2000 Captain, an aircraft builder and is active in EAA. According to his bio, he's been exposed to flying over 40 types of aircraft from ultralights to corporate jets, and has just under 10,000 hours of flight time. He created "to promote, educate, and share this great gift of flight that we all enjoy!" And it doesn’t matter what we fly, because in Owens' world, we are a brotherhood. There is a long list of airplanes he's flown found here. He's completed and currently flies an RV-8 kit aircraft, and is the Technical Counselor and Flight Advisor for the Experimental Aircraft Association and Vice President of our local chapter – EAA Chapter 9. His blog is very slick, a mature, well-written work that presents well with outstanding graphics and typography. It is always worth a visit.

Karlene Petitt - Flight to Success
Karlene's blog chronicles her life as she performs a tricky balancing act between being a mother of three daughters, a grandmother of six kids, a published novelist and an international pilot for a major scheduled carrier. She's flown for eight airlines, has seven type ratings, and holds two Masters Degrees. Petitt is one of the hardest-working aviation writers out there today, her blog is always fresh and readable. Her "Friday's Fabulous Flyer" series is always enjoyable, and her novel, Flight for Control, is available here.

Eric Auxier - Adventures of Cap’n Aux

Eric is a Phoenix-based Captain for a major airline who can "order a drink in ten languages" and his blog is a treasure trove of information that any #Avgeek would love. He answers reader's questions in incredible detail, and if you've ever been curious about what it takes to fly big airliners, this is a blog you will bookmark. He is also a former Alaska Bush Pilot, and his novel The Last Bush Pilots was a finalist for Amazon's "Breakthrough Novel" of 2013. Of note is that he donates all the proceeds from his novels to charities.

Ron Rapp - House of Rapp
To say Ron's "House of Rapp" blog is mature would be a gross understatement. Says Rapp: "The House of Rapp was one of the first substantial personal web sites on the World Wide Web. The first iteration went live in early 1995 when I opened an account with a small ISP. I believe I was one of their very first customers. Actually, the history goes back even further than that. I ran a BBS called Moving & Shaking (Fidonet node 1:103/940) when I was in college. That started during my freshman year at Concordia University in 1989, and it was connected to Usenet newsgroups at that time. The Web didn’t even exist yet, but I was out there, making a mockery of something or other. Probably myself."  Rapp's blog follows his travels flying the Gulfstream IV jet for Pegasus Elite Aviation and his busy flight instructor life teaching tailwheel, aerobatic, glass panel, experimental, and formation flight training. This blog is absolutely worth a visit, in only for it's massive archive dating back to 1997.

Dan Pimentel - Airplanista Aviation Blog

If you are here reading this right now, you most likely already know about my blog. I created the term "Airplanista" to represent anyone who has devoted their lives to aviation, and work tirelessly to push aviation forward. Airplanista's tagline of "Sometimes serious. Sometimes humorous. Always unpredictable." means you never really know what to expect on the blog. As the President and Art Director of an aviation ad agency and creative studio, I stay very busy within the advertising and marketing realm. Writing the Airplanista blog is my escape...and since I have been a published writer through parts of five decades beginning in 1979, "blogging" is a perfectly natural way of expressing myself and celebrating all that is great about what I call the "aviation family." When I'm not writing or designing ad campaigns, I fly my family's 1964 Piper Cherokee 235 or can be found hiking around Western Oregon in a constant search for waterfalls and old growth Douglas Firs. The Airplanista Blog is also hosting the #Oshbash Awards at a meetup event during the upcoming EAA Airventure Oshkosh.

Andrew Hartley - Smart Flight Training
Andrew's blog delivers precisely what the name suggests...information about smart flight training. Categories include Aircraft, Aviation Terminology, CFI Training, Instrument Training, News & Opinion, Regulations and Weather, along with pinpoint data about earning all levels of pilot's licenses.

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