Yes, that old question!
If you’re a pilot, a student, ever taken the controls or uttered the words “Hmm, I’d like to fly.” Someone has probably looked at you and said: “What’s wrong with you?” No? Just me?
We have all seen the news stories of this aircraft going down, that aircraft having the cuffuffle sprocket go wrong and the other aircraft getting lost whilst the captain is enjoying a dose. Or if you’re in the rotary world, just exploding because every action movie has said that’s what helicopters were built to do.
Now I’m sure if you asked any pilot why they fly, the joy of hitting the ground at a great rate of knots probably wouldn’t have been high on the list!
So why do we do it? If you spoke to any ancient philosopher, you’d probably get some rather well thought out answer such as “Touching the sky so that we may be closer to God” or “Enjoying a sense of freedom that only the birds know.” And if you asked an average pilot “I saw a plane when I was 5 and I wanted to fly it.” Ahhhh, aren’t we an eloquent bunch?!
The reason why we fly is such a personal thing that it’s hard to pin it down specifically.
The reason I fly now is because I get jittery if I don’t. I’m serious, I have a prescription from the doctor for an hour a week! But as for the reason why I became interested in flying, I cannot tell you. Maybe it was the sound of the Rolls Royce Merlin engine in a Supermarine Spitfire as it roared past me at an airshow. I don’t know why helicopters appealed to me, my first attempt at hovering was a good example of how not to do it! Maybe it was the challenge.
Either way, the passion was there and it certainly made the studying, the training, the hard work much easier.
Flying is a passion for a lot of people but sadly, not everyone can fulfil their dreams even though they might be a truly gifted aviator.
So for those of us who are lucky enough to be able to get airborne, maybe we should consider another reason for flying to be sharing our wonderful world of aviation with everyone. Not in a knocking on doors and handing out leaflets kind of way but taking people flying when we can, showing them what it’s all about and taking them on our adventures. Sharing the passion.
Those of us in commercial aviation have an even greater ability to do this. Giving those passengers on those sightseeing flights one of the greatest experiences of their lives. Providing passengers on the transport flights with the safest flight you can provide. And for the few that find themselves in the very fortunate position of being able to help people through air ambulance, fighting fires, flying for the police and many other services, doing the best they can to do for the best outcome for the people in need.
But, if there is one thing for certain, aren’t we all just waiting impatiently till we can go flying again?
Keep your needles in the green.