Fresh Air Matters... with Capt. YawHow wonderful it is to be back in the air – visibility is good enough for some local flights and training operations too! However, isolated rain storms have a nasty tendency to draw the Harmattan back in and, coupled with the forecast of snow in
During this window of opportunity to be in the lower airspace of
The added advantage of sitting at the airfield and sharing such stories, is that it can lead to a shared flight, a moment of communion in the sky, a mutual moment of story convergence and, with it, the creation of a bond, a conjugation of two aviators stories - a cross-roads of commonality.
I have shared the cockpit with many people, and some I have very dear memories of. In 1996 I had my one and only flight in a small jet plane, two-seat, a lot of power and a kick in the small of the back thrust that made you smile. I sat in the front seat, and although I could not see the face of my ‘mentor’ behind me, I could feel his every movement in the stick and rudder, power adjustments and changes of every moment. It is an experience that I cherish very dearly, and one of the reasons that I have so much commitment to sharing aviation today.
I remember my first flight in a Tiger Moth, the open cockpit, the rather unpleasant smell of the old face mask, the touch of the mid-1900’s webbing holding me in as we fly upside down across the Kentish countryside. My mentor on that day was a school teacher, who loved aviation, and when not in school teaching mathematics, was at the airfield teaching flying and conversion training. Another bond, a link, a node on the web of experiences that makes aviation so, so special.
At one point I was privileged to fly with a British Aerospace test pilot, it was in an Opus, a little known aircraft with a three cylinder engine. I flew it in
Aviation is a village. Pilots, aircraft owners, engineers, Air Traffic Controllers, airfield managers, etc. all share the same small piece of turf, and all are telling their stories, re-telling the stories that they have heard, sharing their experiences and creating a well-knit chain-mail of super-strength that protects and promotes the future of aviation.
Sadly, as in all villages, not all the players are genuine, some make up stories simply to impress - not correctly motivated, at all!
I have heard stories that are so unbelievable, but are completely true, as well as many stories that are totally believable but complete fiction.
Whist working in
The local chamber of commerce was disgusted with me, and practically banished me (hence I have not joined a chamber of commerce since). They told me in no uncertain terms that I had ‘no regard for the high level of qualifications this young man held’. They quickly placed him in another company. Little did the young man know, but the CEO of that new company owned an aircraft of the type this ‘pilot’ said he had over two hundred hours in. So, when the same pattern established itself, the CEO decided to ‘test the water’. Telling the lad that they were going in a business trip, all joined the car… but they drove only as far as the airport.
The young man look at the plane and smiled, but quickly lost that smile when he was asked to sit in the cockpit, in the right seat. The CEO climbed into the left seat and handed a check list to the chap. With much cajoling the checklist was complete. The young man refused to do the radio, and finally refused to take the controls. They never made it to the threshold before the CEO turned the plane around and asked the young man to never come back.
Investigation proved that he had been to
This week a lad arrived at our airfield, stating that he had built an aircraft, he even had pictures! Sadly, they were from a promotional brochure of a company that we deal with! He is on our blacklist and will not be allowed on the airfield again. Why?
Well, we all present our stories in manners that sound good, let us be honest! But, when the story you tell misleads on matters of safety and security, then you are not a safe person to have around an aeroplane… or a business… or any other establishment.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org)