Our Kaleidoscope Community On Shifting the “Shapes” to Suit Changing Needs

--by Susan Parson, FAA Safety Briefing

Creativity is like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The deceptively simple-looking kaleidoscope is a magical thing. I have always loved how the tiniest twist by its beholder creates a new and utterly unique pattern of light, color, and shape.

That’s why the kaleidoscope is a popular metaphor — one we are adopting to organize this issue’s focus on the various organizations in our vast aviation community.

In aviation, just as in other aspects of life, each of us creates an utterly unique pattern of friends, acquaintances, experiences, and aspirations. Those patterns shift constantly, sometimes in subtle ways, and sometimes more significantly. Sometimes we make deliberate changes; at other times they arise from some unforeseen twist in fate or circumstance. The result we see is sometimes what we expected but — again like the new pattern in a kaleidoscope — it can also present what Harvard leadership professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter calls an “enticing new possibility.”

As with the components on a kaleidoscope’s rotating surface, the myriad agencies and organizations that compose the “aviation community” can be arranged in endless patterns during the course of your flying life. In this issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine, our goal is to help you get acquainted with a wide range of organizations that can be part of your aviation world right now, or perhaps in some later phase of flying. We’ll look at the role the FAA plays in safety assurance and safety promotion. There will be a closer look at some of the best-known advocacy associations like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). We’ll talk about the Civil Air Patrol, type clubs, and special sector organizations for recreational (back-country) flying, sailplanes/gliders, helicopters, and light sport. We also look at organizations that are springing up to support remote pilots and other new entrants in our richly diverse aviation community.

One of the most glorious aspects of the aviation community is that it offers something for just about every possible area of interest. Both for greater safety and greater fun, we want to encourage you to connect to those whose interests coincide with yours. Make them part of your own unique aviation community picture, and enjoy the perspective your personal pattern provides.

Life in the FAAST Lane

A Community Effort Towards Safer Skies

Reflections of Our Aviation Community

A Look at General Aviation Advocates

The Space Between Strategy and Tactics

How Middle Tier Organizations Can Provide Useful Color

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

Explore Civil Air Patrol’s Flight Safety Culture

Learn More

Susan Parson (susan.parson@faa.gov, or @avi8rix for Twitter fans) is editor of FAA Safety Briefing. She is an active general aviation pilot and flight instructor.

This article was originally published in the September/October 2018 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.
Created By
FAA Safety Team

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