1) Seeing a WWII fleet submarine in a field in Oklahoma. (Check it out here.)
2) Being asked the question "Where do you see Aviation Access Project in ten years?"
While I think we can all agree that item #1 is surprising, I should have anticipated item #2. After all, it is a staple of the job interview, and we were essentially being interviewed by a potential Flight Center Director. Also, since I teach interviewing skills for a living, I should not have been taken aback. But I was. And it was a VERY good question. Here's why:
If you get to the in-person job interview stage, it means that -at least on paper- you meet the qualifications for the job and you merit a closer look. That closer look should be designed, in part, to get a sense of the vision and aspirations of the candidate. That sort of insight into a person or organization can be valuable and can be help determine whether the candidate has what we call in the academic space a good "institutional fit." The "Where do you see yourself" question provides exactly that.
So, where do we see Aviation Access Project in 10 years? Anyone considering becoming part of our family should ask that question. So, here's our answer.
The goal is 1000 flight centers. At least 2,000 aircraft under management. At least 16,000 new aircraft owners. Many thousands of them will be new pilots. We'll have thousands of new AOPA members as each new Airshare Owner who is not a member gets a complimentary one-year membership courtesy of AAP. These flight centers will be located in all 50 states and several other nations. Many of the flight center will feature our "Eagle's Nest" concept -a sort-of pilot country club with lounges, classrooms, libraries, restaurants, simulators and more. The AAP roundel will be a common sight around airports and will be synonymous with quality training, excellent owner experiences, family-friendly atmosphere and dedication to the passion of flying.
But MUCH more important than where we see us in 10 years is the question "Where do you see general aviation in 10 years?" Because the mission of AAP is NOT to make money for the owners of AAP. It is NOT to pad the egos or resumes or bank accounts of AAP staff. It is NOT to put bigger airplanes in the hangars of AAP stockholders. Rather it is the mission of AAP to bring hundreds of thousands of new pilots to the rolls and, as a result, revitalize our industry and change the economies of scale. Here's the current FAA industry forecast for the next 20 years: FAA Aerospace Forecasts FY 2012-2032. Ten years from now we want the forecast to include the following :
"Unanticipated in earlier years of this report was the success of industry innovations such as Aviation Access Project in increasing the number of Sport, Private, and Commercial pilot certificates and the resultant increase in aircraft registrations."
AAP is essentially in the business of creating and managing partnerships -groups of people who come together for a common goal. We firmly believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, that 8 working together can do more than 8 or even 80 working alone. Collaboration is more powerful than going it alone and is also way more fun. TOGETHER we will make a positive difference.
Not sure about all that? Well, come back and check up on us in 10 years. (For more pictures from our trip, click here.)
PS. You'll be learning more about the person who asked the question in an upcoming blog post.
Aviation Access Project: We Manage, You Fly, That's It.