Following is the summary of an article posted in ABC News, Australia
Ron Dickenson, he is 91, and has been a pilot since 1944.
When he received his first pilot licence, it simply read: “Licence to fly flying machines.”
“We did anything. There must have been regulations for the airlines, but they didn’t seem to apply to private planes,” Mr Dickenson said.
“I used to do aerobatics over our home in Kew [in Melbourne]. Mum would come out and she’d wave a towel or a sheet, then I’d fly back again.” But security and safety considerations have put an end to these fun-filled days of aviation. The sky is no longer what it was.
His flying career could mark the rise and fall of general aviation in Australia.
The Australian Airports Association suggests as many as 50 per cent of Australia’s regional airports may be operating at a loss each year. As a result small airports are vanishing slowly. Many local councils are selling the land to real estate developers to earn revenue.
On Melbourne’s outskirts, airports like Geelong, Philip Island, Pakenham, Berwick, Wallan, Welshpool, Melton, Moorooduc and Labertouche have all gone this way.
The benefits of tiny airports are harder to define than those of their large counterparts because they don’t measure passenger movements or represent regular flying schedules.
Yet they are needed for postal services, water bombing activity, air ambulances, the SES, police, tourism, crop dusting, survey planes, flight training schools and simple connectivity.
General aviation has long been a home of ideas, where knowledge, experience and innovation have helped drive the future of flying forward.