What is the allure of aviation? Why is it that you hardly, if ever, will meet a less than crazy-passionate pilot? Have you ever noticed that you can almost always pick out all of the pilots in a group simply by watching to see who looks up when an airplane flies over? These are things I think all aviation enthusiasts have noticed, but have you ever stopped to consider what the rest of the world thinks?
Although I have always been razzed by my family about running out on the deck every time something flew over my parents’ house – I never really realized how outright kooky we can be about airplanes until I moved into my house with 3 friends/housemates. This wouldn’t be much of a social experiment except for the fact that 3 of us are pilots and one of us is not. With myself, Frank (a Sky West First Officer and lover of anything aviation) and Rob (an enthusiastic general aviation pilot) constantly yammering on about planes and engines and flying it is a wonder that poor Bree puts up with us at all. But through this experience I have learned something much more valuable than pilots are just big aviation nerds – we have something to offer those that are not – passion. I hear people all the time say that they hope they can find something in life to be as passionate about as I am about flying – and I say, why not!?!
Although not everyone may get as excited about metal or fabric taking flight, as pilots we have the ability to share with the world that there is always something to be passionate about and if you love it, do it. Think about the kid who washes airplanes all weekend just to save enough money for an hour flight. Isn’t that the same as the kid who flips burgers every day after school to save enough money to buy their own car? How about giving up everything to live in a hangar just to be able to afford to work in aviation and gain experience and time in and around the aircraft you love to fly? Do you have something that would drive you to do something that drastic? I do – and I did, and I don’t regret a thing.
What do I propose? I propose that we, as pilots, do our best to not only share our love of flying with as many people as possible – but also just share the secret of being passionate about anything that you love. By reaching out to others, and especially kids, we have the chance to share the idea that if you love something and you set your mind to it, you can make it part of your own life. Whether it be airplanes or cooking, science or sports – having the drive and the passion makes all the difference in the world. Without it life is quite bland but with it the heights you can reach are immeasurable.