So you want to be a pilot? An Aviation Blog by Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Tuesday, December 20, 2011


So You Want to be a Pilot.....

 By Owen Zupp.


 Author of 'Solo Flight' and '50 Tales of Flight'

I recently took a young lad for a flight over our local district; just a dawdle for half an hour or so. He keenly looked down upon the earth with that bright-eyed enthusiasm that all youngsters with dreams of flight in their hearts tend to do. For me, it’s over forty years since my father shared that experience with me for the first time, although I still vividly remember the ground falling away from the Cessna’s wheel outside my window. It was liberating and to quote John Gillespie Magee’s immortal poem ‘High Flight’, I truly felt that we had “slipped the surly bonds of Earth”. The fuse had been lit and the fire was to rage inside me until my turn came to take my own aircraft aloft.

Along the way the journey would prove to be both a struggle and an adventure. There would be weeks where the wage only just covered the rent but there would be nights where the sounds of the New Guinea jungle would play an amazing tune as I hung in my hammock. There would be life in a caravan in the midst of 40 degree heat and nights where the ice was getting so thick on the wings that I was sure there was no way out. I would bury good friends who had fallen in harm’s way and bury relationships that couldn’t overcome the distance and absence. But at the end of the day, I was flying.

Aviation was much more than a career choice for me; it was more akin to facilitating a passion or feeding an addiction. I had never possessed an alternative ‘life plan’ and always figured that I’d never need one. Yet now as I contemplate aviation on another 3am drive to the airport, I question whether it is everything thing to me that it once was. Had the dream become little more than a means to an end? For so much has changed in the industry that it is almost unrecognisable when compared to that first flight in the tiny, gleaming Cessna of the 1960s.



The face of the pilot has been through many transformations over the last century. From fledgling pioneers to heroic knights of the air, the aviators were seen as keen, strong and fearless. And in those days they definitely needed to be, although a little dose of ‘crazy’ was also a useful ingredient in the mix. When the world found the post-war peace of the 1950s and the airliners began to span the globe, it was not so much heroism as glamour that now painted the picture of the pilot. Exotic foreign lands and five-star hotels were the office, while the flight deck laid at his feet views of grand diversity. And they were ‘his’ feet as the airlines were still a man’s domain. Obviously this imbalance needed to change and finally it did when it was realised that women could actually operate airliners just as efficiently as their male counterparts. But while this door opening was a change for the better, it was far from the only change.

Jet travel saw the slashing of flight times and crossing the globe slowly moved further away from its former perception of luxury travel that was more akin to a cruise liner. World travel became big business where deals across borders could be sealed with a handshake in a matter of hours, rather than days. Passengers no longer had to layover in exotic ports, but could catch connecting flights and travel through the night to be home days earlier. And while these changes offered up a variety of worthwhile options for the customer, the role of the airline pilot was beginning to change.

And change it did. No longer did the role resemble the ship’s captain surveying the world from the bridge, instead the pilot became more closely related to the hard-working truck driver. Additionally, the security needs of a fragile world meant that air-crews were faceless creatures secured away in a bullet-proof flight deck. Like a rare species of nocturnal mammal, a glimpse of them could be caught if you happened to be in just the right place at the right time. The children’s visits to the flight deck were now a thing of the past and announcements about the world passing outside the windows were replaced by in-seat entertainment and iPods.



As fuel prices rose and fiscal reality rammed home, the five-star stop-overs disappeared. Low-cost carriers emerged to place further pressure on the bottom line of an already capital intensive industry. In some quarters, pilots began to pay for their own training to effectively buy a ‘jet job’ and their wages dropped as well. Fiscal reality had arrived for aviation and its survival depended on squeezing every inch of efficiency out of the operation in what was now a highly competitive industry. Accordingly, multiple days of sight-seeing in ports became measured in hours before it was time to turn around and cross the Pacific Ocean or some great continent once more. Travel became more routine and frequent and over a far greater distance and time. Sleep became the really valuable commodity to the pilot and crews flying to Europe could routinely see their ‘body clock’ passing them in the opposite direction somewhere over Afghanistan. Days off at home would be spent re-adapting to the time-zone just before it was time to leave again. Similarly, domestic flying became a series of multi-sector days, with minimum turn-arounds at the hotel before the transport would be shuttling the crew back to the airport for another day in the saddle. Just as glamour had replaced heroism, routine and efficiency had become the pilot’s new benchmark.

It was still dark as I pulled into the airport car park to start another day in the flight levels. I spared a thought for the young lad with the gleam in his eye and a burning desire to fly. I contemplated my own career and wondered if I had foreseen the hours of study, the cost of training and the years of minimum wage and second jobs would I have been so enthusiastic? If I had foreseen the freezing cold pre-dawn, pre-flight inspections and the lonely hours waiting for passengers at hot remote airstrips, would I have accepted the challenge? If someone had told me that the airline operations would become just like any other job, would I have listened to them? If I had known then all that I know now, would I have ever chosen to be a pilot?


Absolutely. In a heart-beat.


"So You Want to be a Pilot..." is an excerpt from the best-selling  '50 Tales of Flight'



An Aviation Website and Blog?

Owen Zupp - Monday, December 12, 2011

Firstly, thanks to everyone who has subscribed, emailed, commented or contacted me. It’s great to receive such feedback so early in the life of the new website.


One comment that has recurred is whether this is an aviation website and blog? The succinct answer is,.....well, yes and no. With such a strong link to aviation through my life thus far, it is inescapable for so many reasons. Not only has it been my prime interest for over forty years, but it was the means by which I have also entered the wonderful world of writing. However, is not purely an aviation website.


From 2012 I will have a number of projects starting up. There is a reprint of an existing book, a new title, a DVD of ‘There and Back’ are just some of the tasks ahead of me. There are also some forays into new fields outside of the spectrum of flight. Amongst these are manuscripts that step away from the theme of my past writings and will not necessarily possess an aviation theme. Similarly, my speaking engagements have not been solely limited to aviation in the past. There have definitely been events where I have spoken about the ‘There and Back’ flight around Australia and such items as the decision-making process in aviation, however, there have been others. There has been interest in what is involved in moving forward after being retrenched, just as I was following the Ansett collapse. There have also been occasions when my experiences in the Ambulance Service have played a central role in discussions.


So, yes and no, does possess an aviation theme, but that is not its limit. There will be a constant flow of varying viewpoints on a range of topics; particularly through the blog. So check back regularly, read the blog and see what’s new. If you get a chance, drop me a line, or sign up for the newsletter as the journey is only just beginning and as always, the more the merrier.



Recent Posts


RFC landing an arplane first flight Sydney Airport masters of aviation management 38 Squadron RAAF skipper terrorism GFC airline fly at Flying Podcast P-40 Kittyhawk bachelor of aviation canyoner Temora Aviation Museum Air France 447 Boeing 747 Down to Earth ditching an airplae choosing a flying school flying school Pump Up the Angels best aviation blog aerospace Malaysia Airlines Terwilliger Productions 1942 J230D RNP Brumby Evolution Sir Donald Bradman the Fatal Stall QANTAS Boeing 737-800 NASA dogfight Airbus A330 deCrespigny Chris Sperou VH-OQA Honolulu Nancy Bird-Bird Walton Korean War mosquito Wallaby Airlines firts solo Flying Fortress 9/11 solo flight open cockpit A350 stick and rudder ATFV International Cricket Hall of Fame Brumby 610 Flying Wing Boeing 747-400 FA-18 QANTAS Formula One Grand Prix planes K.I.A fatal stall aviation jobs armore airpot VH-OJA aviation best seller Bert Hinkler P-51 Mustang Se5a life saving Mick Wilson boeing 737 Super King Air Plane Crazy Down Under 16R GenX buying an aeroplane Sydney Australia buying an airplane beyond blue aeroplane blog HUD careers in aviation Kingsford Smith Airport Planes Premiere Cb student pilot Commercial pilot licence WW1 G-force pilot amazon best seller simpler time Garmin G1000 aeroplane Highlander airplane Red Bull Victorian Air Ambulance Supermarine Spitfire QANTAS engineers airliner missing 737 classic Avalon 2013 short field Pearl Harbor amazon QANTAS A380 Owen Zupp, fly at forced landing National Press Club caribou aviation speaker solo flight. australia learning to fly Grant McHerron coosing a flight school McGrath Foundation Gloster Meteor The Pilots Blog aviator green technology airshow Boeing 747-8i airline collapse Glenn McGrath fling Dunkirk The Battle of Britain flying ebook Jabiru Aircraft solo flight. asutralia maiden flight Queenstown Steve Waugh Foundation aeromedical Bundaberg Boeing 747-8F flying instructor 50 More Tales of Flight Steve Waugh CAC Boomerang Nancy Bird Walton Bell 429 Cathay Pacific Cargo bell X-1 Solo Flight Australia. Honolulu Airport wings night US Airways Flight 1549 aerobatics Beech King Air Mittagong Airfield ambulance Boeing 737-800 WW2 cricket Area 51 low flying building your own aeroplane Cessna Caravan deHavilland Mosquito MH370 aviation consultant Milford Sound Scimitar cumulonimbus hars air australia commercial pilot license storm cells raked wing-tip biofuel QANTAS announcement owen zupp author Matt Hall writing most poular aviation blog a aviation Royal Australian Navy B777 Pacific Warbirds Boeing 767 Airbus A320 flying career 787 warbirds the bombing of Darwin Boeing 737 Ferry Flight formation flying Rolls Royce Merlin Beechcraft Costa Concordia flight deck plane crash QANTAS top tips learn to fly Ayers Rock Bradman Foundation Air Ambulance ghost sailor DX-R keynote speaker engine failure manuscript the sky is not the limit Defence Force Recruiting aviation author Cathay Pacific bowral Hawker Hurricane principles of flight Fleet Air Arm aviation blog Australian Aviation magazine Around Australia flight ANZAC Day Japanese Zero RAA Scouts 5 flying tips biplae Edwards Air Base administration Vietnam War Jatstar Airbus airplane warbird QANTAS pilots contrail 50 tales of fllight Day of Infamy future how to land an aeroplane QF94 Australia Bulldog Pitts CO2 emissions Singapore QANTAS QF32 cost of flying tailwheel avspecs how to land an airplane Seattle Ansett Australia hustling hinkler pilot blog aircraft accident 400 Avalon Air Show Douglas DC-3 aviation writer Spitfire speaker aviation journalist aerodynamic stall 723 squadron QF32 pilot suicide 0/11 Cessna solar The Hobbit airman ballooning arospace glass cockpit iTunes QANTAS Boeing 747-400 R-DX army D-Day missing airliner hijack airbus A350 XWB Ricky Ponting flight school CAC Wirraway C-47 Pitts sport 2012 flight blog Flight 6231 aviation book New Zealand: QANTAS poppies 747-8F open day T-6 Korean Air War Dreamliner RAF Q400 jabiru most popular aviation blog flying training 737-400 low pass flying schoold Kenneth Butterworth McGlashan ditching an aeroplane p Owen Zupp Tiger Moth Red Baron smashwords safer flying Blackhawk flying blog 737NG RAAF Garmin tail rotor flight Canberra Puffin UAV STOL Yak 52 Ansett Impossible Airport Northwest Orient NSW Ambulance Service J170 QANTAS Airbus A380 landing a jet Kimpo war September 11th Flight for Control flight training Boeing 787 Dreamliner Lockheed Hudson landing an aeroplane spitfire 944 1940 metal detectors the right stuff DH Mosquito Winglets baggy green de Crespigny George Hale landing an airplane pilot jobs aviation story North American Harvard Boeing 737NG there and back Bell 429 helicopter memory rescue B-17 aero club US Navy wings MH370 found Kenneth McGlashan: Hawker Hurricane Airbus A380 solo around australia Australian War Memorial Ernest Gann Bombardier land an aeroplane Asiana DC-3 ICAO SNJ Glass revolution plane crash Caboolture aircraft Chuck Yeager Queenstown New Zealand Steve Visscher CRT cirrus crash P2902 Boeing CA18 Mustang Pearl Harbour soldier airliner G-ROBT 737 dusty kitplanes A350 XWB Hong Kong Trader Titanic sinking airport security FA-18 Hornet owen zupp Gen-X engines tom wolfe aviation aviation degree airbus Bradman contra-rotating propeller QANTAS half yearly report USS Missouri airlines ditching One Six Right September 11 flying Yak 18T Sullenberger Yak Formation popular aviation blog Ice Pilots PCDU NTSB Australian Army Steve Cooke bombing of Darwin Diamond DA40 aviation careers Dash 8 pilot careers SCAT Brumby High Wing Brumby Aircraft buting an aeroplane Boeing 787 Super Hornet flying kangaroo New Zealand Bf109 solo flight australia disney planes flight ebook Brumby Shuttleworth Collection EFIS Battle of Britain aviation eBook Lord of the Rings ANZAC Duxford Boeing 777 coastal flying MXS Nancy Bird BAE Hawk QANTAS Boeing 737 RMS Titanic EADI blog coaxe how to land Bush Pilot Ponting Foundation australian aviation Uluru HGS Aviation Photography A320 Paramedic coaxial Kitplane Strategic Airlines pilot academy Facebook Kenneth McGlashan disney pixar USS Arizona ZA003 Mystery Aircraft Texas aviation consulatant Piper EFATO Special Casualty Access Team memorial aviation image aviation photography speaking airbus A350 san francisco 77 Squadron 737-300 anthony jackson 50 tales of flight addresses Jetstar aviaton author pilot training Blue Angels


© Owen Zupp. All rights Reserved.                                             Admin . Privacy . Disclaimer                                            Website by Shot to Pieces . Powered by Blackroom