When Internet-based social networks provide aviation related ideas, images and information

I’ve been recently invited to join a group named FLAPA. Actually FLAPA is an acronym standing for Flight Lunatic Almost Pilots Association and it is not a group by a sort of mailing list run by Stefano Perer.
FLAPA started in Hong Kong on Sept 21 2007 as a mail exchange between aviation enthusiast. Stefano in USA now delivers (more or less) weekly emails about topics dealing with the world of aviation as a sort of blog, sharing also contents proposed by the other FLAPA members. FLAPA was born by an “Almost Pilot” but it now counts a large majority of “Real Pilots”, some of which are really famous ones. As a result of accepting the invite, I began receiving interesting links, pictures and text, about Skydiving, aquaplaning, engine sounds etc as the group is made of around 90 “special ordinary people”. Here’s how Stefano introduced FLAPA to me:

“Flapa expertise range from the third hired Pilot of Cathay Pacific that ferried the first Airplane DC3 (Betsy) to Hong kong http://www.chingchic.com/chic/ and the last guy in the aviation world. Myself. We are multicolor aviation enthusiasts like Blair that insist to call me “sir”. He manage Evergreen Cargo Airlines in HK. Evergreen chairman Mr. Del Smith , started with his Helicopter and created the Evergreen Corporation. In memory of his son Captain Michael King Smith (killed not by a plane but by in a car accident) he created the Evergreen Museum where to preserve for us and the World the “spruce goose”. Here in FLAPA the Director of Education of the museum (http://www.sprucegoose.org/) Tyson is our guest as well.

Our motto: a group of those who love anything that share the wind expect drones and pollution.

There are special ordinary people like the mother of a splendid family that Fly the Lama SA315 with cargos or water under her.

There are captains that still love to fly and air traffic controllers that still like them and allow to come back to Earth earlier perhaps to get their Discovery bay bus shuttle home.

My last addition to the list is a 90 year old woman, the first to fly military rotary wing and  the first woman in the NTSB accident investigation panel:  Susan Strand. She is working on a book about W.A.S.P.

I will never forget when Halley comet was visible in 1986, and the captain turned off all the “Christmas tree” enabling us to see its tale from the right back window corner of an A 330 We saw the “dash” and the memory will be with us forever. Was the same Captain that flew to England for freedom:
and wrote his story in the book “Farewell Brave Babylon” when he was Saddam Hussein’s pilot. He also reads us in FLAPA”

Information shared through FLAPA can inspire an article or an aviation project, or just provide a nice read.
During the last months, many have contacted me to congratulate for my blog entries, explaining that it is nice to read what I think about a particular topic or event. Some told me that they would like to have an aviation blog too but don’t have time to spend to build it. In my opinion, FLAPA is the example that everyone can share his ideas, thoughts or expertise using a sort of mail blog, and keep in contact with other aviation enthusiasts and professionals located all around the world.

PS. Don’t ask me please to be added to FLAPA, since admittance is only based on invitations. But if you wish to share and receive mails send a message to Stefano to the following address: [email protected].

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.