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Flying Is No Fun!? Really?
By Jeff Seaborn, EAA Canadian Council Chair
February 2020 - I recently attended a conference where the attendees were seated around tables. Prior to the start of the conference, people at our table were introducing ourselves to one another. One gentleman across the table from me looked familiar. As I tried to determine where I'd met him before, I asked his career background. No connection there. I asked if he was a pilot or involved in aviation. "Yes," he said. He got his pilot certificate in 1977 but he hasn't flown since. He then proceeded to tell me that flying was boring, and that unless you had full IFR rating and a pressurized aircraft to get above the weather, it wasn't worth having.
Unfortunately, before I could continue the conversation, the conference started, but I couldn't help consider what a disappointing perspective he had. He was missing out on so many facets of aviation that were available to him.
I think of the many pilots at my airfield who are happy to roll out their ultralights simply for a 10-minute flight in the circuit. I think of the pilots who enjoy the opportunity to fly to a neighbouring airfield to enjoy a pancake breakfast and some camaraderie. I consider the pilots who love the challenge of maintaining their IFR currency by flying precision approaches even on severe clear days. I think of the pilots who enjoy viewing their community from a perspective that most of their neighbours don't have the privilege to see. How about the pilots who fly into remote areas to explore what few of us will ever see? How about those exploring the full three dimensions of flight by flying aerobatics? There's float flying, there's multiengine, there are additional ratings and endorsements and types. The list goes on. Getting a pilot certificate is just the start of a whole new world of opportunity if one so desires.
This gentleman left about two-thirds through the conference, so I didn't have a chance to continue our conversation. I don't know his time schedule or his prior commitments, but I couldn't help but think that his early departure was similar to his getting his pilot certificate: He signed up, got his ticket, and left. Sadly, he missed many great speakers at the conference, just like he's missed out on 40 years of learning, experiences, and adventures that flying could have provided him.
If you know of a fellow pilot who hasn't flown in a while, offer to take them up for a flight. Rekindle that passion and see where that takes them. Flying doesn't have to be boring. Getting your certificate doesn't have to be the destination. It's the departure point.