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

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

Archive

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