The “Ask an Ambassador” biweekly chat on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. Eastern time features AOPA’s You Can Fly Ambassadors: host Jamie Beckett in Florida, Kay Sundaram in California, and Pat Brown in Texas. As ambassadors, the three active general aviation pilots visit airports in their regions, talk to pilots, meet with flight schools and flying clubs, host educational seminars, and serve as a resource for the pilot community.
The coronavirus pandemic canceled most in-person events and aviation shows this year. “We can’t hold events, but we have to connect” with pilots and AOPA members, Beckett said of the inspiration for the one-hour live chat. (Translation: The ambassadors need their social aviation fix just as much as you do.)
Beckett, an aviation writer, flight instructor, and A&P, selects a topic for each chat, and the ambassadors bring their extensive knowledge and expertise to answer participants’ questions on the subject. “We all have our own perspective,” he said.
Sundaram is an aeronautical engineer, and she learned how to fly before learning how to drive. Brown has owned a flight school and is an active designated pilot examiner. All three have owned aircraft.
The camaraderie is infectious as the ambassadors banter back and forth and take your questions. “We genuinely like each other,” Beckett said.
The live sessions launched in September and average more than 2,000 views within a week after a chat. While the ambassadors lead with a topic, they welcome all questions and don’t worry about going in a different direction to help participants.