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?

Yes.

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, www.owenzupp.com 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, www.owenzupp.com 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.

 

Cheers.

Recent Posts

Tags

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

Archive

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