Happy December from the NGPA, ! Welcome to this holiday-season edition of ON THE FLY! Our organization is soaring into the month, and we can't wait to share more of our worldwide community with you, ON THE FLY.
The incredible work of our organization is supported and carried out by a dedicated team of volunteers across our organization. As NGPA continues to grow and take on more initiatives we are always looking for motivated members to help with our organizational mission to BUILD, SUPPORT and UNITE the LGBTQ aviation community worldwide.
Don't let your dream job wait for you, the flight deck is calling! Visit our jobs database for inclusive workspaces, where employees can learn, grow, and be their authentic selves.
After weeks of scoring and evaluating hundreds of applications, NGPA is proud to announce the following recipients of 2021's scholarship awards valued at over $150,000.
Don't spend your holiday season alone! Join the Chicago NGPA chapter, the Windy City Flyers, for their get-together at Lucky Strike Bowl. Eat, drink, bowl, and BE MERRY! 
NGPA Australia will be hosting a get together in Victoria, meeting up at the Australian National Aviation Museum near the Moorabbin Airport. It’ll be a fun day of climbing onboard old airliners and exploring old aircraft flightdecks! There will be a $10 museum entry fee for all in attendance. We'll see you there!
Are you free on January 19 and missing your NGPA family? Join the Metroplex Flyers in the Dallas and Fort Worth area for their monthly get-together in January.
Miles of blue skies soar over the San Jacinto mountains and provide a majestic backdrop for the NGPA's flagship Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up Presented by United Airlines. With deep Mid-Century Modern roots, the quirky, welcoming spirit of Palm Springs provides a perfect oasis for the NGPA's extremely popular winter fly-in event that has steadily grown over the years.

General registration is now open, so go and secure your spot as soon as possible!

The Expo will feature hundreds of ATP-qualified active airline pilots seeking employment, general aviation pilots interested in new products and services, and budding aviators seeking opportunities at flight schools for their career advancement. Guest speakers and educational seminars for general aviation, business/corporate, and commercial pilots are in the lineup of events, which cater to a broad range of aviation interests.

The 2022 NGPA Industry Expo will be a fully vaccinated event for all exhibitors and attendees. This will ensure our ability to provide the most protection for our members, attendees, and exhibitors alike while also giving us greater latitude to see everyone’s smiling faces, mask-free!

Are you a local or university chapter leader? NGPA local and university chapters offer the most frequent events and allow members to get together and network. Share your events, and we'll help you spread the word that your NGPA members are getting together.

Greetings !

The is the time to spread some holiday cheer, grab those around you who you love so dear, to let loose, and maybe grab a beer! With vaccinations up there is hopefully less fear, to gather around with family who can once again be near. 

What do you think? Do I have a future as a limerick writer? Since it took me over two days to put that together, I am going to go with NO! Let’s stick to what I know, which is run-on, non-rhyming sentences with excessive use of exclamation points!!! It’s my signature, and the thorn in the side of our ON THE FLY Editor/Creator Hunter, our Operations Manager Luke, and our Contrails Editor-In-Chief Thom Barbour. My consultation to them, though, is that I am nothing, if not consistent! That joke seems to be lost on them though! 

2021 was another year of constant change, which I am happy to report NGPA handled significantly well. In a time where organizations shrunk due to the ongoing struggles of the pandemic, NGPA has been able to grow incredibly. Our growth in active membership has been to the tune of nearly 45%. We entered the pandemic in February 2020 with 2500 active members. By January 2021, we had shrunk to 2100 active members. Today I am happy to report our active membership has grown to 3500. We have added/renewed over 1400 members alone in 2021. Our virtual presence and our constant efforts at keeping our aviation community together this year have certainly proved beyond needed in these times. I am so proud of this leadership team, our incredible volunteer team, and our outstanding members. We have all come together to make this happen, and humbled is the best description I have for how I feel. 

As we round out the year with the upcoming holidays, be sure to check in with those near and dear to you. Take time for yourself, and the human interactions that make our lives so meaningful. Look ahead to 2022 for NGPA because we have big plans and NEW events on the horizon that we cannot wait to share with you in the coming months! Don’t forget, registration is now open for Winter Warm Up in Palm Springs, and registration for the 2022 NGPA Industry Expo opens January 2 (If you're only attending that)! We can’t wait to welcome you back to the desert southwest after a 2-year hiatus. Spots are limited, and we are already over 60% full. Don’t delay; register today! (Another rhyme!)

Happy Holidays, NGPA Family. I will see you all next year! 

Every December 24th, Santa launches on his single 24-hour, 7 billion segment, flight duty period. Readers are, of course, familiar with the annual operation to deliver either gifts or coal to children around the world. This year, On the Fly staff writers were given an exclusive opportunity to interview Guy Tinyscrew, the North Pole Director of Maintenance, and Airframe and Powerplant Technician.

Santa’s Workshop houses a Part 145 Certified Repair Station and a certified large-animal hospital. A highly skilled team of Sleigh Maintenance Technicians keep the Sleigh in airworthy condition. Polar-class veterinarians keep the Reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and of course Rudolph, in top shape for the endurance flight.

In a typical year, preparing the Sleigh for such undertaking is an immense challenge in its own right. Numerous inspections must be completed and repairs made to make an on-time departure. Adding to the challenge, the Sleigh is also an antique aircraft. As such, there are numerous Airworthiness Directives to comply with every year.

In light of global supply chain issues and worker shortages, we wanted to ask Mr. Tinyscrew how he is meeting the challenge. This is what he had to say:

What are the top challenges to readying both Sleigh and Reindeer for the annual flight in an average year?

Guy Tinyscrew: "Santa’s Workshop decided to use an annual inspection for the aircraft in lieu of phase inspections due to the Sleigh only being flown once a year. Typically we start immediately after the big flight. There are always so many surprises in the process every year, and let's face it, ordering parts from Aircraft Spruce can only take us so far."

What has surprised you most about maintaining the fabled Sleigh in your tenure as Director of Maintenance?

GT: "Oklahoma City has not been lenient with removing the minimum milk and cookies onboard prior to dispatch restriction. Through much back and forth, the MEL still lists 12 cookies required for dispatch and 2 quarts of 2% milk in a glass bottle. SpaceX has been instrumental in engineering a state-of-the-art battery, and electrical design for our FAA-PMA approved cookie draw warmer. Ever since Hilton released their Doubletree cookie recipe in 2020, it has been the cookie of choice for Santa’s Christmas Eve flight."

What were some challenges unique to preparations for the 2021 flight?

GT: "Due to an elf labor shortage, we didn't know if we could meet the deadline for installing any new upgrades. Luckily Whelen Engineering created a LED beacon as a low voltage Reindeer powered alternative for Rudolph’s nose that can be installed in half the elf-hours. I am excited to say not only is Rudolph’s nose brighter than ever, but he also says it's beyond comfortable to wear in our test flights."

You mentioned parts sourcing can be a challenge in a normal year. How has the shipping crisis impacted your parts sourcing?

GT: "Christmas 2021 proved to be one of the most difficult years to prepare for in quite some time. With congestion at the Port of Los Angeles, I had to source parts that were made in the North Pole. Once things were offloaded in California, I found it incredibly difficult to get the trailers to the North Pole with the lack of long-haul trucking available. Combined with adding freight carriages to the Polar Express, we have also sponsored CDL training for any elf worker willing to take on the open road."

Lastly, what would benefit our readers to know about North Pole TechOps?

GT: "Our sound system in the hangar can blow our elves' socks off. Because as you know, the fastest way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!"

ON THE FLY would like to thank Mr. Tinyscrew for sitting down with our writers and giving us the inside scoop on maintenance operations at the North Pole. The original, uncut interview is available on the On the Fly podcast: Santa Flies Again, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Shazam, YouTube, Crew Companion, Comply365, your CBT provider, or wherever you get your podcasts.

I'm from what I like to call a "double-trouble" family, where my parents split when I was quite young, got remarried separately, and then both blessed me with a small army of siblings. Often this becomes a messy cobweb of explanations when trying to describe my family tree to friends and colleagues. I'm usually overwhelmed with "Wait, what sibling?", or "Which grandparent is that?", and it can be quite a frustrating endeavor to layout my entire family tree—one for which I'm not even entirely sure the layout of—every time I want to bring up a situation or story from my family back home. I'd be lying, however, if I said my expansive family tree didn't have some perks. Though I always despised the constant traveling back and forth between different family's houses during the holiday season, there was never a shortcoming of family events, food, or—most importantly—loved ones.

In making this month's newsletter, I was overwhelmed images of several Christmas parties and holiday get-togethers of our chapters worldwide. After nearly two years of separation and exclusively-virtual gathers, our NGPA has family has been, slowly but surely, becoming reunited. 
More than ever, I'm thrilled to be able to join our global community during our 2022 Winter Warm Up, presented by United Airlines, in February (and not just because I get to escape the arctic tundra of Southwest Michigan for a long weekend). For the first time in two years, we'll finally be able to make our commute to Southern California for our family's very own events, food, and—most importantly—loved ones.

I hope you've enjoyed reading this month's ON THE FLY email newsletter, and that you've taking the time to register for the Winter Warm-Up and Industry Expo in February. Until next month—

Clear skies!
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