Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. YawIt is always a treat to have an experienced flyer visit our facilities at Kpong Airfield, and so the last few weeks with Detective
Much as our focus is on aviation, and the positive impacts on aviation in
This twenty-eight year old young man speaks with authority, to high powered groups around the world, about what it is like to climb
Standing under some shade at the airfield, he drew a sketch of Everest on the flip chart. He then proceeded to explain how he and his climbing partner took three months to achieve a twenty minute stand on the top of the mountain. He stood on the top of the world for twenty-minutes ONLY. He went on to explain how the need to climb up the mountain a to a base camp, and then back down again, time after time was necessary to build the body for the big day. Once trained over the three months of ‘up-down-up’ it took only three days to achieve the summit of twenty nine thousand feet!
As I listened I watched the faces of our teams. The AvTech girls, all learning to fly and build aircraft, were glued to the tales of the exploits, their smiles wide as they flashed their eyes at their friends, making sure all had caught the last nugget of the story. The estates team, comprising masons, carpenters and motor mechanics, as well as the security team, seemed totally spellbound. It was a long time since we had a presentation for our staff that captured and encapsulated the attention of all, in one journey of discovery.
Rex focused on safety and team work. Correct equipment, correct attitude and working as a team, encouraging the other team members when they felt down or tired. He explained that less than one in twelve attempts to reach the summit succeeds. He also pointed out that for Sir Edmund Hillary to reach the top with Sherpa Tensing, it took a team of three hundred people to make it happen.
As a demonstration of the challenge to breathe and work whilst at higher elevations, working in thin atmosphere, we were all asked to take a deep breath and hold it in for ten seconds, then exhale and take another breath to hold for ten seconds, repeatedly. Now, try doing that whilst walking, working and thinking. The physical challenge was enormous, but the physical difficulties alone were not all he had to overcome. On top of the battering of the arms, legs and lungs, the swelling of the hands and feet, the immense cold and the biting winds that could blow you off at any moment; they also had to think through every action, work out the best path or plan to make the next step, in order to reach that goal. The goal of standing on the ‘table-top-sized summit’ for twenty minutes.
Rex states that this moment (or twenty of them) changed his life. He now spends so much time talking to executives and enabling companies to adapt their strategies to business life through hearing about his exploits. It was fantastic to have him share this with our little team in the rural lands of
Later, I asked Rex how he felt when he reached the bottom of the mountain after the successful attempt, and he admitted that it was a bit of an anti-climax, a sort of ‘what now?’ feeling.
As he spoke I realised that climbing
Much as Rex had his goal of reaching up to the top of this mountain, and attained it, I realise that we have a different approach. Ours has no summit, ours in an unachievable goal. In fact we don’t really have a goal; it is more like creating a sustainable legacy – ensuring that the daily summits we reach are simply another positive step on the giants’ causeway of our vision. We know that as we achieve one thing there are ten more to do, and the exponential expansion of the possibilities drive us forward with ever increasing speed. We are not satisfied to reach the next one rural village with health education – nor the next ten, twenty or one hundred. No, the target is endless, and the need to ‘hold our breath and keep on working’ is tough, but it is also a necessity, not for us but for those who will gain and grow from our efforts in light aviation, especially our outreach on the lake that will gain momentum in the coming months.
To read more about our visitors’ impressions, you can visit the Medicine on the Move website www.medicineonthemove.org – a view from the outside can often change the way you approach your daily challenges, so take a few moments and open your mind.
Capt. Yaw is Chief Flying Instructor and Chief Engineer at WAASPS, and lead Pilot with Medicine on the Move, Humanitarian Aviation Logistics (http://www.waasps.com/ http://www.medicineonthemove.org/ e-mail email@example.com)