I also learned about coffee. Yep, coffee. You see, I am not a coffee drinker. Experience has shown that I may be the only certificated pilot in the known universe who does not consume mass quantities of the stuff. But most pilots do. And most pilots know which local airport has the good stuff, which EAA pancake breakfast brews the finest, and what FBO uses name-brand vs. no-name in their pots. Not me. I just look for cheap gas.
Rob Riggen is our hero today, and he is the founder and President of Flying High Coffee. Rob's idea was to see if he could divert the estimated one BILLION dollars per year our industry spends on buying coffee to worthy aviation-related 501(c)(3) groups. He does this via a profit-sharing plan. We buy the coffee, he takes much of the profit, and donates to organizations that sign up with his group. How cool is that? We still spend the billion bucks, but the profits go back into the industry we love!
As you might imagine, Rob is not exactly in it for the money. He's in it because he has a PASSION for flying. And Aviation Access Project LOVES people with a passion for flying! How do I know about Rob's passion? Well, last year I was in charge of something called the Tennessee Steam Plant Fly-In and Expo, which was designed to be an event where a bunch of pilots, EAA members, and aviation-related businesses from in and around Tennessee could get together, look at airplanes, eat, listen to music and learn about cool stuff. Sort of a mini-Expo or Sun n Fun. EAA 1343 hosted it, and will again this year on June 22. And Rob provided the coffee. Almost.
You see, I got with Rob and told him about what we were up to in Tennessee and wondered if he'd like to send some coffee down. We could publicize Flying High Coffee and sell some beans. Rob was all for it and sent a package with beans, t-shirts, stickers and flyers. But through no fault of his own, it was delayed and did not arrive at my door until the morning of the show -and I was long gone to the airport. So, our EAA chapter had plenty of coffee to serve for the rest of the summer! And a couple lucky pilots got t-shrits. But Rob was fine with that, and laughed it off.
So, Rob Riggen is one of the good guys of aviation. He gets it. He has the passion. He wants to see it grow and prosper. And he is not above thinking outside the box and trying something new. And we like that at Aviation Access Project. So today, we salute Flying High Coffee and urge everyone to give it a try.
And tell them the guys from Aviation Access Project say hi.