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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

You never know who you'll meet

As a pilot, I have some amazing co-workers. One of them happens to be a former NFL player and fellow Northeast Ohio native. Here's a story about one of my fellow pilots, Flying High with Kevin Houser.

Most of us would be happy to have one of our childhood dreams come true. He made two of them happen!

One of the things that jumped out at me in the story is that when he was a kid, he actually asked pilots for autographs! The reason that is so interesting to me is that a lot of pilots—all the way from private pilots to other airline pilots—look at my job as routine. It's not routine to me, and I can't imagine it ever becoming so. Sure, there are some aspects of the job that become rote, but the job itself doesn't. To a kid, it's still an amazing job, and we have a responsibility as pilots to encourage kids to become pilots themselves. Learning to fly is a life changing experience, even if it's not a career.

There are many reasons for this, and I've covered many of them in previous posts. One of the most important ones is that when you think about it, I'm privileged to have one of the most amazing jobs in the world: I connect people safely and quickly in a modern aircraft at hundreds of miles per hour. In an average day, I can wake up in one state, have lunch in another state, dinner in yet another, and still be home the same day! Sure, that is a part of life in the 21st century, but I cover more miles in one day than 99% of humans ever covered in their lifetime just a century ago!

The High Poet of aviation, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, once said, "Transport of the mails, transport of the human voice, transport of flickering pictures -- in this century, as in others, our highest accomplishments still have the single aim of bringing men together." I still consider it an honor to be able to be part of it. It is an honor that took a lot of work to earn the right to be part of, but despite what others may say, it is an honor to do what I do for a living.

Houser himself echoes my sentiments at the end of the article:
With one dream in the rear-view mirror and the other dream afloat, Houser is loving life. “Just like other professions, flying has its ups and downs. However, everyday I fly, I get to see the world from a view that the good Lord has day in and day out. From my vantage point, I have a front row seat to watch glorious sunrises and sunsets, the beauty of active weather, and the tremendous accomplishments of society. Looking out and seeing the Statue of Liberty, the Freedom Tower, and Times Square never gets old, and the overwhelming emotion of spectating all of God's glory reinforces that this second career continues the blessings of the first.”

See you next Wednesday!

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The author is an airline pilot, flight instructor, and adjunct college professor teaching aviation ground schools. He holds an ATP certificate with a DHC-8 type rating, as well as CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and IGI certificates, and is a Master-level participant in the FAA's WINGS program and a former FAASafety Team representative. He is on Facebook as Larry the Flying Guy, has a Larry the Flying Guy YouTube channel, and is on Twitter as @Lairspeed.

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