Friday, November 27, 2009

Over the river...and over the woods...and over and over...

Took a few minutes Thursday to grab a look at my favorite flight-watching web site and watched in amazement at the hundreds of dotted lines drawn across the Continental U.S...and it gave me a moment's pause to reflect on the value of our airplanes and of aviation to the nation -- and the sacrifices of those who labor in aviation at levels where flying's 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year nature comes into play.

For each of those dotted lines edging its way across the map at least one pilot was at work employing great skills and well-learned knowledge to take safely to their destinations the charges in the plane.

For each of those dotted lines, someone somewhere helped prep the flight with fuel, maybe a tow or hangar removal.

Unseen on my screen was a cadre of aviation professionals at work managing those hundreds and hundreds of flights with air-traffic control services, in towers and TRACONs and Centers spending part of their Thanksgiving watching their own screens so that others could safely transit the nation.

Unseen on my screen was the workforce of our Flight Service, the contractor's employees who strive to provide a public service from a for-profit company that tries to balance the interests of its customers with those of its shareholders -- most of whom probably don't even know the company is in this business.

Also unseen, but well known from experience, was the thousands of faces wet with the tears of joy at the sight of family and friends delivered safely through the skies to experience Thanksgiving with them, of children and parents, husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and cousins and in-laws, many of them like my friends, who used their winged machines, their skills and privileges to travel to them and enjoy the glow and warmth of family and friends gathered for the holidays.

And in four more weeks the process will repeat itself with one friend flying off to see his children, another fetching parents and child to unite at a common location, and still another winging off to deliver gifts to far flung children with little to look for over the holidays save the late-night visit of an old, bold pilot bearing the ultimate gift of unselfishness and generosity.

To all in the system, to all who used it or worked it and made it happen, hope yours was a great Thanksgiving. For you, to you, our thanks.

And to all our great listeners, however you spent your holiday weekend, here's my note of thanks for you and for living in a world that lets us enjoy the freedom of flight like no other civilization in history.

-- Dave


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys,
I downloaded all of your episodes and I love the podcast. I too, have a great love for aviation. I respect everyones thoughts and opinions on the show and that is why I have one question for you.
I am 20 years old and have a helicopter private pilot license, currently training to become a commercial helicopter pilot. I am always well dressed, well spoken and carry myself in a professional manor. Do you think by having dreadlocks will reduce the chances of landing a job as a helicopter pilot even if I have met all of the proper qualification?

6:16 PM  
Blogger Dave Higdon said... about a softball question -- not. Short answer is possibly. Long ago gave up trying to figure out the vagaries of the instinctual biases of otherwise intelligent, well-educated people...seriously. Not something I agree with on any level, but figure people with limited exposure to the big, wide world generally get theirs from other real-world ignorant people.

In general, not going to be an issue in some parts of the country and with most people...just can't say what I wish I could say and tell you categorically "No. Aviation is more mature, tolerant and grown-up than to hold a grooming choice, done cleanly and business-like, against anyone."

Wish I could.

-- Dave

3:18 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home