I think what's being said here is that a super-duper, long-range lens isn't a pre-requisite for aviation photography - and in reality it isn't if you have the right locations at your local. At MAN
you can go to spots where the maximum you'll need for even the smallest visiting aircraft is 60mm. But unfortunately many people are not so lucky and have to make do with longer lenses.
My 100-400 only comes out with me during the winter, and I only use it if absolutely necessary. I was recently thinking of selling it as I barely use it but it has on occasions come in really useful. No doubt it will again.
The ANZ shot above isn't the sort of shot I go for (many like that angle but it's too 'underneath' for me) - I'd probably have needed 50-60mm for my preferred location/angle. If you don't have decent locations at your local it doesn't really matter how carefully you choose them.
Conclusion? You can get very nice shots with a short lens alone - but unless you work airside your options will be very limited and you will inevitably miss lots of great opportunities.
I'd personally rather have short lenses, medium lenses and long lenses.... just in case.....