Today's entry in the blog series is an interview with Chase Larabee. He self descries an entrepreneur interested in tech, aviation, and entourage, in that order. Works in private aviation and the founder of @PilotAway. Already acquainted with Chase? Than maybe you'll learn a few new tidbits, or if you don't know him, allow me to introduce him:
When did you first discover your passion for the aviation community?
I guess I never really discovered my passion for aviation, I was completely raised into it. During my youngest years, my dad was bush flying up in Alaska, and I was shown videos of me sitting in the right seat, along with an image on an old Alaska Airlines 727. Growing up in the Seattle area between Boeing Field, Paine Field, and Renton my dad would always take me to those airports on the weekend. Whether it was to get a picture of me in front of the brand new 777, or to see 737 fuselages coming off the train in Renton, I was addicted. Later on I would begin flying with him all across the country and I knew I wanted to work in aviation as well.
Do you or have you had an aviation hero? Who?
For as long as I can remember, the Blue Angels have been coming to town every summer and watching those guys perform, along with the sights and sounds, every single pilot was my hero (although I really liked the 2 solos). About five years ago though, I attended the Arlington fly in and got to see Bob Hoover perform in his Aero Commander. That sure was a sight. To me, anyone who is going to roll a Commander with no engine power really gets my vote, so I bought his book and learned much more about that very impressive man.
In your opinion what makes you or someone an aviation geek (avgeek) or propeller head (prophead)?
I would honestly like to say that anyone who can appreciate the smell of 100LL stained clothing, or Jet A in the morning but I know I cant stop there. In my personal opinion, what makes someone an avgeek is something who completely lives the lifestyle. They work in aviation, either fly themselves or enjoy flying with friends, come home to a coffee table full of AIN, Flying, AviationWeek and many more great magazines, and then still has time for a little flight simulator here and there. I myself know that even after a long day of work, and travel I can simply never get enough of aviation because in all honestly I am just too damn passionate about it.
Why do you recommend that your friends and family become avgeeks or propheads?
I recommend that my friends and family become avgeeks, because it is too easy. Regardless if you have a favorite airplane, or even favorite airline, somewhere in there your head is turned toward the sky. It is a hobby that can be started with a few magazine subscriptions and plane spotting weekends, and once someone takes their first flying lesson there is no turning back.
What are the biggest challenges facing the aviation industry today, in your opinion?
Personally, I think that in today's day and age, our biggest threat is the financial downfall. Although it may seem like only a slump in private jet sales, people are flying less in their free time due to high fuel and maintenance costs, flying lesson costs rising, forcing people to re-think a career in flying, and lastly the entire general aviation industry struggling with new and used aircraft sales, hurting thousands of passionate avgeeks.
Take flight, share something about yourself that you don't think was covered in these questions...
I wanted to take a second to talk about social media and aviation. A few years ago, when first starting out on Twitter and Linkedin, I never thought I would see social media spread within aviation. I would like to say, I was completely wrong. Now more then ever, my twitter stream is filled up with aviation news and to me, it's like a professional playground of avgeek activity. There are days I get aviation companies who want to follow me on foursquare, and others I am following a company on Linkedin and Twitter, and it is not only impressive, but I am completely proud with how far social media has spread within our community, because even as early as last year some companies were just introducing themselves to social media.
What aviation companies are to following on aviation or are following you? Have you ever seen the Blue Angels at an air show?