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.


Anonymous said...

True, same thing is over here... I'm not even flying any big jet airliner yet... but as i've tried (actually begged) to get my hands on a catalina, I've noticed how i get those "you are weird" look from others... I know its hard to get there, but, so far i have the honor to have logged hours with some of the local legends, and enjoyed their stories...aviation is not the same, its has lost all of her romanticism...

Phil said...

Amazing stuff great blog. I found this via YouTube gonna add your site link to my blog and will be returning for mare. Cheers!!

Adam Howey said...

In the UK the employment market for pilots is the wrong shape to support people transporting newspapers in Senecas and supply the airline industry with its demand. It is not pyramid shaped.
To find paid employment students must reach an airline.
The MPL is the first real change to the first two thirds of the regulatory syllabus since WW2. The MPL allows us to quantify the professional skills required to operate as an airline pilot. Further, it requires a commitment from an airline to a cadet.

When we talk about experience, what can't be addressed through training? Why is there an implied lack of knowledge? Is this a chance to raise the standard of an airline pilot? and better justify their status as professionals.

Unknown said...

A sad but true reflection of the times. I meet loads of budding young pilots in my line of work and about 95% of them are only here flying the small stuff to get hours to go fly the big jets.

And the number of folk who ask me "so when are you going to get a real flying job?" I just laugh and get back to what I enjoy.

Nice blog :o)

Golfcharlie232 said...

Hi Matt,

I'm a huge fan of your Porter videos.
I flew once as a passenger on this superb aircraft and loved it. There's nothing like coming in to land and hearing the PT-6 reverse screaming on the airfield.

On average, I'd say people are less and less motivated.
T&C in the airliners cockpits have never been so bad and still, more and more people consider only airline flying as a goal.

I personnally wish I could start all over again and I would definitely spend more time on light aircraft.
I fly a lot on my spare time because this is what I consider to be the real stuff.

Now flying a 737 can be good fun, it is certainly interesting especially on short sectors but of the 700 or so yearly hours, only 30 or 40 of those are actual manual flying. And that's for someone who hand flies a lot.

Hats off to your landings on remote strips.

Clem said...

This speech is very true and sad to read. But we can take it from the good side.

Like most readers of this blog we know that the best part in a career in not the submit but how we've reach it and where we've traveled to achieve our goals.

So if their not willing to take the journey and start little before dreaming of big. It's totally fine for me ... Nowadays positions for beginners job are so hard to find so If I could get less outsiders I could care more :D
Towing gliders or flying along beaches with a banner would be just awesome for a start.

So please people no passionated by Aviation continue to hope for shinny Jets and Dreamliners ;)

jfarango said...

I agree with some of your points of view, I definitely agree that it's all about the journey and not the destination, but we don't choose the journey, we just have to enjoy it as it happens.

I finished my flight training at Florida flying C172SP (NAVII & NAVIII) C172R and PA44 and I went to Colombia looking for a job and I got one flying a Jetstream 32 (Was an unbelievable and amazing experience) and 7 months later I got a job flying a cargo Boeing 767 as a F/O when I was just 19 years old.

I always dreamed about flying a B767 and it's what I'm doing right know, but this is not the end, I've been engaged with aviation since I was a little kid and I still enjoy flying light aircrafts and recording videos and taking pictures during work and in my free time.
After this I will probably fly an A330 and after that... nobody knows, could be something bigger or something smaller, but I will continue enjoying the journey.
The point is my journey is going to be a little different but I'm enjoying it and I will do it during the rest of the aviation years that I hope I will have.

You make awesome videos, and your writing is great too, I always enjoy reading this blog, congrats!

Juan Felipe Arango PĂ©rez

lukasz said...


Thank you for sharing your passion with us. Your videos are amazing.
Can you send me an email to since I would like to consult a few things with you if you do not mind.

Thank you