Friday, 22 February 2013

It's all about the Journey, not the Destination

Darren Williams, 20 years of flying experience from ultralights to fighter jets.

Golfcharlie, your youtube videos are just awesome. They inspire those who want to strive for that big jet job, but as they say, "Yes, it's all about the journey......Not the destination". 
A little about me and my journey.
Like many, my dream was to fly a jet airliner. In those days, here in Australia, the path to the airlines was to take general aviation route in its numerous forms. Charter, instructing, crop dusting, the list goes on. You needed 2000 hours plus just to get a job flying PA-31 in those days. In later years, some of my students were getting those same jobs with less than 500 hours. How times have changed.

My first job was flying charter in a Cherokee 6 and Tigermoth joyflights before taking the instructor route. From there progressed to become a very passionate chief pilot and chief flying instructor of a flying school. I also flew adventure flights on the weekends doing aerobatics in ex-military aircraft including jets as well as many other flying experiences like fire spotting during our bushfire season and meat bombing...uh, I mean parachute dropping.

I was fortunate to fly over 40 aircraft types from ultralights through to combat jets, teach 377 people to fly and experience the many wonders and delights that only flying can provide. The only thing I never got to do was to fly that big jet.

My lifelong love affair with nearly 20 years of it flying was ended by a mild stroke which saw me lose my medical. That was nearly 2 years ago which to this very day is still hard to overcome.

In the last couple years of my career, I saw a change in the type of students we had. It went from those who enthusiastically wanted to learn to fly to those who only just wanted to do the bare minimum for the licence. They had no desire to experience other things in aviation and looked down on anything that wasn’t a Cessna with glass or a new piper because it was either inferior to them or that was not going to be any use to them working towards the shiny jet. 

I have no doubt that most wanted to fly but it is sad to see that the majority had no real passion and a lot had a very limited knowledge of aviation outside of a Boeing or Airbus. I ask new CPL holders of today what are their plans for their careers only to get a quick “Cadetship, don’t want to do GA”.
The MPL will only make things worse. No real depth of knowledge or experience, and an over inflated ego to boot. The title of airline pilot will become less prestigious than a bus driver (no offence to bus drivers).

It’s OK to dream of being a captain of a modern jet airliner, but sadly most of today’s pilots don’t want the journey anymore, and have a huge sense of entitlement to the shiny destination.