Become a UFO

I enjoyed Vic Syracuse’s article on flying and aging [“Checkpoints,” March 2017]. When 93-year-old Ewart Lockyer solos, he becomes eligible for membership in the United Flying Octogenarians (UFOs). The only membership requirement is that you have flown as PIC at age 80 or above.

We have almost 1500 members, with the oldest being 107. There are periodic regional fly-ins for lunch and lots of talking. Dues are only $20 per year.

The mailing address is United Flying Octogenarians, P.O. Box 1765, Carmel Valley, CA 93924-1765. Our website is www.ufopilots.org.

—Harry J. Wander, M.D.


I’ve been reading KITPLANES since the mid 1980s and absolutely love it. You’ve done a tremendous job over the years. The only complaint I have is the extensive use of acronyms in many articles without referencing their meaning. Although I have learned much over the years, it’s clear to me that there are still many acronyms I don’t know. I find it frustrating to have to constantly look up their meaning.

I remember being taught in school that it’s proper etiquette to include the meaning of an acronym in parentheses the first time it’s encountered in an article. I know that it may be difficult to do that due to their high usage in most articles, but would you at least consider an acronym definition page in the back of the magazine?

—Paul Wilkinson

Thanks for your note. As a former NASA guy, I totally appreciate your concern on the use of acronyms. At NASA, we didn’t speak English, we spoke in acronyms. Trying to keep up with new ones took considerable effort as folks seemed to invent them on a daily basis.

As you wrote, the proper use of acronyms is to define them the first time they appear in a piece of writing; however, most style guides (KITPLANES included) allow that “standard acronyms” (those that are common to the industry) don’t have to be defined every time. The problem, of course, is drawing the line on what is standard and what is not.

For instance, everyone probably knows what GPS (global positioning system)means, but we can’t be sure that LORAN (long range navigation) is understood by everyone anymore.

Your acronym guide suggestion is interesting. We’ll think about how we might do that. In the meantime, we’ll work harder at including more definitions.—Ed.

It’s Walt, not Wayne

I enjoyed Dave Prizio’s article, “Becoming a DAR” [February 2017]. It seems like a lot of work to go down that road. I am an experienced builder with a lot of new-gained information crammed into my pea brain; to add that much more would be completely overwhelming.

Also, I’d like to point out one item that needs to be corrected: The builder with the airworthiness certificate is none other than the famous Walt Snyder, not Wayne. He has finished a Zenith CH 750 STOL.

—Dean Smith

Dave Prizio responds: Hey, no one’s perfect as evidenced by my screwing up Walt Snyder’s name in my DAR article. My sincere apology to Walt.

Write to [email protected].


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