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This past year I’ve been thinking and reading quite a bit about one simple question; What makes a great pilot?
I am not only looking for this in my real world flying, but I also look at what makes a great pilot in Flight Sim.
One conclusion I came to after reading Charles Lindbergh’s book ‘We’ was that there is a lost art within aviation and therefore flight simulation. I realized this after reading about how ‘Lindy’ did things during his career, which lead him to a historical first crossing of the Atlantic at the ripe age of 25 years old. He also did this on May 20th which is my Birthday.
Many of us are pilots. How many of us are aviators?
To me there is a large gap between the two. Although this gap isn’t defined in the dictionary, I consider this to be a hot topic of flight training today. Defining these differences and planning our training structure to address the issues, we’ll find the way forward.
Bear with me while I explain.
When I was 19, with a new pilot license in my pocket, I had a complete intention of becoming an airline pilot. It was my focus in life. My end game.
I ran across a Delta 737 pilot, based here in Salt Lake City, and asked him what the one piece of advice he would give to a prospective airline pilot. He replied, ‘You have to REALLY love flying’. I replied, ‘Well I REALLY do, so that won’t be an issue!’.
What he was saying in simpler terms was ‘You have to love it enough to put up with all the crap’.
I have a major passion for aviation. But it doesn’t hinge on whether I get to ease the throttles forward on an aluminum monster with 200+ passengers behind me. It’s the mere fact that up there my perspective on life and the world changes. It makes me feel so small and obsolete in the most dramatically romantic way I can imagine.
I eventually realized I didn’t want to be an airline pilot. I just love to fly. A lot. I pursue this passion in many ways.
Charles Lindbergh knew this. He was quoted saying, “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.”
I’ve always considered an aircraft as an extension of my soul. An expression of my need for freedom. Up there, the aircraft gives me wings I wouldn’t otherwise have and a perspective I couldn’t otherwise achieve.
Anyone can pilot an aircraft. I fly because I’m an aviator.
Why are you an aviator?
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