Archive for the ‘Flying’ Category

Small General Aviation Airports and their Importance

September 20, 2009

I’ll keep this one brief.

Recently an article appeared on the front page of USA Today – Thursday, September 17th: Feds keep little-used airports in business.

Bad form all around. An article appeared in this paper many months ago regarding airport impact fees and how GA (general aviation) doesn’t shoulder its fair share.

Before anyone decides to assume the lynch-mob mentality, please consider this: Smaller airports serve many. They are departure and arrival points for a wide range of smaller international carriers, they manage the carefully choreographed ballet of small aircraft (and by small I include the entire range up to commuter jets) they provide several thousand jobs, and offer points of interest and education for those looking to get their pilot’s license among others.

But small airports also serve as centralized launching points in times of crisis and disaster. Many of these provide an invaluable service as a command center to mobilize support and aid. They also serve as centralized locations to mobilize to another location en-masse.

It’s critical that people understand there is more than meets the eye in almost any endeavor.  In general aviation we often hear about the waste of tax dollars on Citation jets as politicians jump around the country, or the corporate marauders who abuse such perks with indescretion and obscene inconsideration.

Little do we hear of Doctors Without Borders, many of whom are pilots who travel south of the border on their dime to assiste the less fortunate, or the wide reaching network of Angel Flight, where pilots offer to fly the critically ill and sick  – most often children – across state and country to get the medical treatment they need, or the outreach network of PilotsNPaws, a dedicated group of volunteer pilots who travel the country in their free time finding homes for rescued animals.

The next time we read or report on something, let’s take enough time to understand all points of the topic, because by doing so we stay on point, and understand better the world around us.  It is sometimes difficult to resist the temptation to nod and agree, especially if it’s something we either do not understand or don’t fully appreciate or agree with, but a little acquired knowledge applied goes a long way.

The civic obligations of being an actor

July 11, 2009

I’ve mentioned in other venues the responsibility one has to one’s self when it comes to the path of pursuing entertainment as a career. Along with this sense of being and direction is the important culpability of always doing: -What feels right (morally, ethically, & professionally) – is the thing that defines you. I recall a friend in the industry once telling me, years ago, that “character is what defines our choices when the choices aren’t obvious.”

 When I first began to learn the stunt side of the business (and am, as actor, stuntman, coordinator, and director ALWAYS learning) I said to the person who had taken me under his wing that I had no idea what to do to thank him. He told me that in time I would be doing the same thing, offering people guidance and instructing people on how to approach a stunt or improve on something they were already doing. An old friend came to visit and brought his daughter to the show. Afterwards I brought them back stage and gave them a tour of the facility. The talk shifted to one of our loves, live shows and live and interactive performance. He reminded me of a stunt show we were both involved in and how I wound up teaching an impromptu high fall class. Two things happened: One – I helped people fine tune the skill they already had, or in other cases showed them the basic mechanics of what a high fall entailed. Two – I taught people.

I am not an expert, but believe in offering insight when approached. We all have the obligation to offer guidance to others who enter the realm of entertainment. To expand on this posit, it behooves us to offer guidance and insight to any person seeking to gain footing in our area of expertise.  This ought to not be confused with telling people how to do things.

For me, no matter how star struck or rooted in reality the person is, I always offer the same information, though often slightly tailored to their specific concerns or issues. I have also taken to writing letters, or emails, when issues concerning our industry come frothing to the surface. If we don’t offer contrasting, counterpoint insight to news reports or topical concerns, then at the end of the day we don’t deserve to say anything. This applies across the board to anything.

Example – I heard a report on the tax incentive program and how economists stated “states were lucky to break even,” and “the jobs were temporary.” I live in a state that offers a tax incentive to film production, and have worked in other states where those states offer tax incentives to film production.

The reality? For every dollar spent to bring a film project to a location that film project spends on average 5.50 to 6.00 dollars. That is a remarkable return. Those temporary jobs? A lot of your below the line folks move from project to project, making a great living while supporting both the industry and their families. But people don’t know unless you educate them.

My point to this is if you have to question the veritas of a statement, then by all means do the research. If the information is not correct, then become a voice and offer another perspective. This not only makes you more aware, it makes you more efficacious. And if you take the time to do the research, it makes you knowledgeable.

It makes you a responsible member of the community, no matter what that community is.

Knowledge is power only when properly wielded.

Ronald Fox Actor / Author / Stuntman

feed your mind; feed the world

writing, acting, flying, and focus

May 22, 2009

Much to the chagrin of a couple of my closest friends, who are also heavily skewed fans (In my opinion), I have taken on yet another sporadic writing project. The first link follows.
I simply decided to share a bit of the history and experience I’ve amassed in the entertainment industry, and it made me realize how critical focus is in our lives.
I mentioned in a previous blog / article the eagerness I have in getting my private (pilot’s license) and getting my ticket punched (another way of referring to the certificate for the specific certification) and have spent time working on the writing portion, prepping for the written FAA Airmen’s exam. I realize I need to get that out of the way before I can move on unfettered to the practical aspect.
Plus, I have taken on another business enterprise, as well as begun the outlay for something that may enter the realm of the physical down the road. Sounds cryptic, I know, but until I’ve got the necessary things in place for the latter it does little good to elaborate.
The first thing I refer to is simply a business enterprise I’ve entered with a colleague with the sole purpose of creating a self-sustaining vehicle. I’ve discovered as I talk to people who areinvestors, and with my own experience, the truly successful people have several projects going at once. It’s doesn’t dilute their efforts as much as as fuel the fire to grow and create. Every person with a measure of success has their focus on several things at once; whether those things are physical, emotional, business, spiritual, or religious, direction guides decision.
I once heard a good friend talk about how pursuits are like a ladder on a wall. A goal might be beyond reach because the ladder is on the wrong wall. I put forth another possibility: why not create more than one ladder?
I truly believe dreams become goals when you touch them with your mind.
My focus on writing, flying, and the cornucopia of other things that take my attention are simply ways of direction.
For all of us, guided direction should guide decision.

Film work, Flying, Fine food, and other F’s

May 18, 2009

Been a while…
Been working in Louisiana (Donaldsonville) shooting a film and I found remarkable things in the middle of what is still by and large an area that looks war ravaged. The people are overwhelmingly kind and upbeat, and the food remarkable. Tuna steak and shrimp etoufee? I would never have thought of the two. And though not a big fan of fried food, I would love for someone to explain how chicken can be fried so lightly it not only doesn’t taste fried but doesn’t leave grease on one’s fingertips.
On the flying part, we had to drive up to bring equipment to the set, but it is yet another reason I am motivated to finish my private and get my ticket punched so I can continue to expand my aviator’s knowledge base and ability. Plus, there is a great deal to be said for flying somewhere in a couple to few hours versus twelve hours on the road.
I love flying. I admit it. I am one of those people who loves the smell of av gas and jet fuel. I am one of those people who likes to go to the airport even if I am not traveling somewhere, simply because it feels adventurous. There is something amazing about the orchestrated hustle, the unchoreographed dance of travellers as they move through the terminals and tarmacs.
And flying? Amazing. The sensation of the roll out and bank, and watching as the patchwork below becomes more geometric, that is a sort of magic that is best left to experience, as the description does more to tease.
I have to get my written exam out of the way and I can get back to the task of flying -which isn’t really a task.

Actor / Author / Stuntman & really qualified candidate?

March 13, 2009

Got the following:

Continental Who’s Who
March 11th, 2009
Ron, Welcome to our Inner Circle.
Inclusion in our prestigious organization is a career milestone only available to those who have demonstrated exceptional professional knowledge, expertise and client service- and I think you quintessentially meet those standards. Our forum enables you to be reached by thousands of professionals and your peers with the purpose of doing business with you. Simply put- Members are friends you haven’t met yet.
I want to thank you for helping us to create a stronger platform.
Much Continued Success…

I thought as an author I ranked among the who’s who when I received that most coveted plug, the props from Oprah;
As an Actor when I’ve worked as a a co-star with Jason Statham, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Geena Davis, or Sigourney Weaver;
And as a Stuntman when I’ve been nominated for the Taurus Awards.

Haven’t yet heard from Oprah’s show (have heard from Dr. Phil, however, but his recommendations are not as highly regarded for whatever reason),
Haven’t heard from Harrison Ford with an invite to fly with him in one of his planes,
And have only known folks who have been nominated or have gone to the Taurus Awards.
But I suppose there’s an alternative universe out there where I must be all that.
I had no idea.
Okay – back to writing and studying.

Writing right. An Author’s journey.

February 5, 2009

I have discovered a few things on this adventure of being a published author:
The standards are high.
Everyone has a critical eye.
Everyone wants you to do well.
Everyone who decides to read the story wants to enjoy the story.
I am getting considerable feedback on the editing of Oaken Rings as well as notes regarding some questions or inconsistencies in plot line or character development.
I, for one, am a fan of multiple story lines that blend and weave themeselves together and find a resolution at the end of the day. Sometimes the story is a bit complex in the beginning, and sometimes people feel there may be too much going on, but I find it important to constantly turn the page within the page, so to speak. I have to offer new things to the reader to discover, or else it is simply a story rehashed. For me, that simply will not do.
As for the editing, I have discovered in my new (and existing) fan base a willing and qualified group of people willing to pour over my future works to iron out the type and syntax errors, as well as keep me and the story honest. To you I will rely. I recently discovered a writer of whom I am a great admirer (Ken Follett – a great resource, and in my opinion, a national treasure of the UK) uses considerable man (or woman) power in the process of hammering out his works.
I have discovered that part of what comes with being an author is the willingness to open oneself to criticism, because those who do offer criticism, do so with affection, a critical eye, and a desire to see the best work possible produced, rendered with as few distractions as possible. I’m willing to explore those options, because the stories must be told.

Oaken Rings

January 26, 2009

I learned that on the fourth of December the ranking of Oaken Rings actually got as high as 5400 on, according to a friend of mine who checked. Those are great numbers! Thanks to you all and Keep reading!

Flight of fancy ( Flight of the Writer )

January 26, 2009

Keeping all the things “up in the air” at the same time is compellingly entertaining.
Working on my flying, I’ve decided after talking to a wonderful friend the smartest thing to do to motivate me is to get a plane, so I’ve begun to look for a nice trainer. A two seater most likely will fill the bill, one that will allow me to get back on track.
On a similar note (About being on track) I realized after being asked about the sequel to Oaken Rings that it is not the book I’m working on. True, on the back cover of Oaken Rings, it says (to paraphrase) I’m working on the sequal, titled Acropolis. As any author might tell you, other projects come up. I finished my second book (a spy thriller) which is in editing, and am working through my third book, which is a story about a group of modern day witches. Somewhere down the road I’ll hammer away at the keys to create the sequel. Until then, I hope you, the reader, will indulge my creative bent. I’m open to all queries and suggestions that lead to that point.

Sport Aviation Expo – Sebring

January 23, 2009

Made it to the Sebring light sport / experimental aviation show hosted in part by EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association).

Experimental is something of a misnomer which suggests folks cobbling together things that just might fly with the right gust of wind.  Here’s one example: If an aircraft has been built and certified outside the US and then eventually comes to make its home in the the US, it is considered Experimental.  So….

Truth is, Light Sport is a regulated industry, just as the remainder of  the standard General Aviation community is, with certifications and the ultimate airworthiness directives handed down by the FAA.* 

The EAA from time to time has to battle absurd over-reactive regulations handed down simply because some administrative advisor feels the infectious desire to satisfy the “thumbprint syndrome.”  Heavy handed governmental agencies all seem to live by the rule, “Legislation, not education.”  And they are often influenced by whomever has their ear.  That’s as diplomatic as communism. 

If you have ever flown in anything other than a commercial aircraft, and you enjoyed the sensation and feeling it conveyed, it would behoove you to plug into the issues from time to time and write letters voicing your opinion to the FAA.

I have often told people who have a less than wonderful experience at a restaurant, theme park, or other event:  To the organizers or sponsors, no news is good news.  When they don’t hear objections, they presume there are none and folks are fine with the way things are going.  It’s one of the great things about a democracy, the freedom to voice your opinion.  Do it.

But I have digressed.

The Sport Expo is an opportunity for aviation afficianados to spend time in and around all sorts of flying aircraft.  You can attend seminars, check out the latest in technology, and even get demo flights in aircraft.

It represents the begining of the aviation community year that builds in crescendo to Oshkosh.

When I’m flying I am filled with the same sort of wonder that I discover when I am writing.  Whether flying over the terrain beneath the aircraft, or floating over the lands I bring to life, I am filled with a sense of amazement.

Go to an aviation expo or fly in, read a book, and see the world.

*as there are thousands of pages dedicated to definitions of Light Sport and Experimental, I’ll leave it to the curious reader to probe further through the cyber pages of offerings and resources.

The mind of a writer continued…Oaken Rings as a study in history

January 16, 2009

I am continuing my journey as an entertainer of the spoken word and the written word.  I flesh out my own curiosities as I explore my drive to further my offerings,  and I’m delighted to have discovered so much support from a great number of people who have come forward to offer their assistance as proof-readers and general readers.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to each and every one of you.

At the risk of sounding cliched (and perhaps too late):  The pen is only truly mightier than the sword when sharpened by the trained and callibrated study of the many hands that go into the forging of its mettle.

And to those of you who continue to purchase Oaken Rings for your reading pleasure, thanks and enjoy!