A new organization for real pilots

“Excuse me, lady, is this where the meeting of the N-F-F-A is being held?” I asked, adjusting my flight jacket, the one that’s never been flying, and looking around hopefully for people who look, you know, something like me.

You see, it’s not just birds of a feather that flock together, we humans do, too. We enjoy the company of people who are, well, like us. And when it comes to flying, there’s no end of such organizations, I know, because at one time or another, I’ve been a member of most of them, including:


The Airborne Law Enforcement Association.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, known as AOPA.

The Aviation Association of Santa Fe.

The Brodhead Pietenpol Association.

The Civil Air Patrol, or CAP.

The Commemorative Air Force.

The Ercoupe Owners Club.

The Experimental Aircraft Association, known as EAA.

The Hat in the Ring Society.

The International Aerobatic Club.

The National Aeronautic Association, known as the NAA.

The Reno Air Racing Association.

The New Mexico Pilots Association.

The Silver Wings Fraternity.

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators, known as SAFE.

The Sport Air Racing League, or SARL.

The Vintage Aircraft Association.


My, my, my. I’m quite the little joiner, aren’t I? And I’ve probably been a member of seventeen other flying organizations that I’ve completely forgotten about. But that said, I’ve let my membership in most of these outfits lapse. Why? Well, I don’t really fit in. Or more correctly said, none of these associations, clubs, coalitions, confederations, cooperatives, federations, fraternities, guilds, leagues, organizations, and societies fit me. They don’t serve the needs of pilots like me. And I bet I’m not the only one.

So I decided to start my very own organization.

An organization for mutual support for real pilots and real flying. One that will give us kinship of common cause. One that will show us that we are not alone. One that will give us the support of our peers. One that will let us share our experiences with sympathetic ears, and get the counsel of the more experienced. One that genuinely represents our needs and helps us with the true realities that go hand-in-hand with the dual dreams of flight and of airplane ownership. One that recognizes the painful side of flight and the dark side of airplane ownership. Yes, an association that will keep the dream of flight alive for its members while their planes languish in the hangars of their mechanics.

In short, a club for people like me with airplanes that always seem to be broken down.

I’m going to call it the Non-Flying Fliers Association, or, in the aviation tradition of abbreviating everything, the NFFA. Our motto will be “All the same money, none of the fun.” I even came up with a swank logo:


Sick Ercoupe art


I couldn’t wait. I fired off emails to all my pilot friends. They all thought the new association was a great idea, but none of them could spare any money for dues.

All their planes are broken down.


2 thoughts on “A new organization for real pilots

  1. I love the Logo!

    It would go great on a t-shirt or sweatshirt. Perfect for the pilots here in Phoenix in the summer.

  2. Just catching up on past columns after my road tripping season has come to an end. I can definitely relate to the Non-Flying Flyers. My Coupe has been in the shop since mid May, a victim of mission creep. My guy was going to come down here (06R-Bellville TX) from his home base in Seminole OK (SRE) to do my annual while I was on a road trip. I happened to mention that I was considering a new interior, probably a DIY AirTex job. He informed me that he also owns an aircraft interior company based on the field (He’s the FBO and Airport manager.) Turns out he could do a custom interior AND repaint all the metal in the interior for a few hundred dollars more than the AirTex kit. Of course, he has to do that at his place, not mine. So, he flew down to get my plane and took it back to Indian Country. Then I started piling on “While you’re at its….” Examples: “WYAI… replace the tires. Balance and repaint the prop. Pull and lube the trim cable. Fix the cabin heat control. Replace the encoder. Tighten the oil pressure gauge connection that drops warm oil on my thigh. Replace the glazed over rear windows. Repaint and restripe the wings. And on and on….

    When he got around to the annual, it was his turn. “Cracked rings on #3. Very low compression on #2. (I went for a chrome top on all four cylinders.) Waited almost a month to get them back from the engine shop. Finally gets it all fixed up. Flew it about ten hours for break in (and I suspect, just for fun. You see… I had bought the plane from him. It had belonged to his deceased Dad, so there was a sentimental connection.) The last time he had it idling in the shop he heard a little “clicking.” “Lifter!” he figured. “Quick and easy job.” And it should have been, but the thing was bent inside the assembly and wouldn’t come out. Even a pro from Gibsons in OKC couldn’t get it out, so he ordered new ones all around. He said it was less than ten hours away from a failure, so I’m glad he caught it before he brought it home to me. Of course, instead of a simple lifter replacement it now required the case to be split. While it was open, he thoroughly checked everything else out. It was all good. There is less than 300 hours on this Stroker C-85.
    As of this morning, he’s waiting for some parts and should get it back together in the next day or so. YAY! BUT…. now we’re looking at almost two weeks of rain and thunderstorms down here in SE Texas! As Roseanne Roseannadanna said…
    “It’s always something!”

    Fortunately, my AP (former owner) treats me right. He feels bad that I’ve had these issues within 25 hours after buying the plane. (yes, there was a pre-buy.) So, he’s doing virtually all the engine work with no charge for labor! We have an agreement. I trust him implicitly. And he treats my plane just as if he’s getting it ready for his dad to fly it to Oshkosh again. Works for me!

    But I sure want my plane back!!

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