“There are airmen and there are pilots: the first being part bird whose view from aloft is normal and comfortable, a creature whose brain and muscles frequently originate movements which suggest flight; and then there are pilots who regardless of their airborne time remain earth-loving bipeds forever. When these latter unfortunates, because of one urge or another, actually make an ascension, they neither anticipate nor relish the event and they drive their machines with the same graceless labor they inflict upon the family vehicle.”
– Ernest K. Gann (Ernest K. Gann’s Flying Circus)
This quote says a lot about a person’s passion for flight. There are those who are in the air wishing they were on the ground and there are those on the ground wishing they were in the air. The latter are passionate about the art of flying. They are the ones whose curiosity about all things aviation related cannot be quenched. They immerse themselves in any and all aviation related activity they can find. The former, it seems, just tolerate aviation. They are involved in aviation for reasons other than the love of aviation. They don’t savor the experience of breaking free of earth’s hold on them. They aviate because…well, I don’t know why they do it.
I believe that many of the accidents, which occur yearly have something to do with a person’s passion for aviation. If the attitude is that of the former, then perhaps they only do what is required of them and never anything more. They spend little time improving themselves and learning more about all things aviation related. They adhere to the “if the minimum weren’t good enough, then it wouldn’t be the minimum.” These attitudes then put them in situations where they don’t have a clue of what to do next. Their “clue bag” is empty.
So, how do we find the passion, the “fire in the belly”, for such a wonderful experience of breaking free? Our society is so busy that we seldom take the time to appreciate anything, let alone aviation. However, if we only would slow down for a moment and realize how blessed we are, then we may begin to appreciate and enjoy our daily activities. When you have the ability and opportunity to see the earth from above, you can begin to see that life sometimes draws us into a “I can’t see the forest for the trees” dimension. Let’s all slow down, step back, and fall in love with flying airplanes – there are very few who have the opportunity to manipulate the controls of these fine machines.