You never know who you are going to impact and how you can influence others by your role in aviation. It does not matter the role, unknowingly, you play a part in developing others. A great example of this is the movie, A wonderful Life. We do not get the opportunity to see what others lives would be like without us, but we can read good examples that help us understand our position of influence. We don't have to focus on our roles in other peoples aviation careers, we just need to know that the little things count.
A Christmas Gift
A couple years back I got an email that changed my outlook of my career. I will never forget it it was on Christmas day. It went something like this"
"dear sir I’m sure you don’t remember me since the first time I met you I was a teenager. I got to fly on a flight from New York to Boston on a special fare with a group of other young kids interested in aviation. You were the captain. You were pretty busy, but you took the time to show us the plane and take some pictures website with us. It was very inspiring, and I took a lot of pictures one of them was the cockpit. Years later I decided to go into aviation and I work my way up into the business This year I find myself writing you this email after completing initial training at your airline I am now a first officer on the very plane that we flew together in so many years ago. I know it sounds kind of hokey but I just thought I would tell you that What you do matters and it does inspire me."
I passed that email onto my Chief Pilot and our company went crazy with it. They arranged for us to meet and to get to be able to fly trip together which was absolutely amazing. I got to hear perspective I will never have thought of on my own. We talked like we had known each other for years Which was really neat. I think the best part is feeling like you made a difference. You hear that all the time you see the movies, you see it on the Internet, but until it happens to you you don’t realize how powerful it is.
Spouse of B777 Pilot
There was a kid in our church who was having some trouble with his parents and really hanging out with the right group of people. Do you know the kind he just didn’t have a Lotta good direction and my husband decided to ask him if he wanted to go check out the simulator at the school house. We are fortunate that our training center is local and that my husband knew a lot of the instructors and was able to pull a few strings on a not so busy time. So the kid was a little surprised by the invitation but agreed to go. My husband told him he need to wear a nice shirt and tie stand up straight And act professional. When they got to the A training center the instructor gave them an impressive tour. That young man’s eyeballs were popping out the whole time especially when they saw the simulators.
The best part was he was able to go in they powered the simulator up and show them what it was like to run checklists look at the airport environment, and act like crewmember. Much to his surprise the instructor said all right let’s take it around for a spin. My husband said that boy couldn’t believe it. They took it to another level when they let him take off (with a little guidance), and fly around for a bit they came back and landed and that was a grand total of probably 45 minutes. On the way home my husband said that kid wouldn’t shut up about the experience. His parents were pretty impressed as well.
Now I don’t know if that changed his life or not because we moved shortly there after. I often wonder if that was an inspiration or not, I’m sure it was. I think the important part was it was my husband‘s idea, and I think a light went on for him to. Maybe someday will find out if that 45 minutes is still in this kids brain.
I work in Santo Domingo has a aircraft mechanic. Part of our job is being on the push crew that pushes aircraft off the gate. Its a unique time to talk a little bit to the flight crews. This week was a treat because I recognized the captain from years prior when I was a customer service agent. I dont think he remembered me very well but I was very excited to see him because he was such a friendly guy and fun to talk too. I actually saw him on the ground when he was doing a walk around.
I told him who I was and that I use to be a gate agent and he seemed very happy to know I moved up to being a mechanic. I told him he had quite the fan club here in the DR. He looked confused. “What kind of fan club are you talking about”. I said that it was rare that pilots were friendly and that there were a lot of people that remember him and thought he was fun to work with. A lot of them have since moved on to other positions in aviation but we still keep in touch because its a small country in regards to aviation. I think what I am trying to say is that he is a good representative of his pilot group. He makes people enjoy working together and that is rare. When I told him that, he seemed to understand better.
We don't make a lot of money in Dominican Republic, so we are impressed by someone who does and is friendly at the same time. I exchange whatsapp messages with him from time to time and we have lunch we he lays over here. I know its not much of a story, but its a real thing here.
Flight Instructor Career
At one time I had the vision of going through my aviation career with the aspiration of making it to the top as an airline pilot. I thought that was the top, it has been labeled that by just about everyone. One day I was flying with a student who seemed like he had a real grip on his flying skills. It was second nature, so when we were talking he was really listening to what I was saying instead of being caught up flying the plane. Afterwards he said something I will never forget, he said that I had "the gift". When I asked him what he meant he explained that I had a way of teaching and talking that made him understand outside of a text book type of meaning. And that I seemed to want to know more about me personally. I was kind of overwhelmed.
Its hard to be humble, its even harder to figure out where you belong. I make a comfortable living as an instructor that is "sought out" for my reputation. I would say that the top of the pile in aviation careers can always be relabeled.
I love my job even though it may be grueling at times. I just love to impact people with a good attitude and a positive output. Even the grumpy ones can turn around and have a better day if you look at it as a challenge. I especially love kids, and there is always a chance to inspire them and plant a seed. Some of the are enamored with the flight deck, and I understand why. But some are just drawn to certain people and you can see it in their eyes if you are looking.
One day a mother of a 8 year old brought her daughter on the plane in a replica flight attendant uniform. This is not something we see often, and she was like super cute. As soon as we got out of ten thousand feet, I asked her mom if I could borrow her. She said yes, and I whisked her away to the front galley, put an apron on her and showed her how to serve the passengers. She was a marketing machine all on her own and I was just a conduit that knew where all the supplies were.
Everyone was thrilled to give her their orders and receive their drinks and snacks, At the end of the flight we took lots of pictures together and received lots of compliments. I always thought I may hear back from them but never did, which is totally ok. Then one day I got an forwarded email from a customer on that flight. This was like 1 month later and they were gushing about how great a role model I was and how that little girl was influenced. The interesting part became that it was a customer who was changed more than the little girl (or until I hear from them) Its funny how that works.
Do you have a good story in regard to Aviation Careers?
If you do, send it to us so that we can share it and add value to the aviation community. In case you have not noticed, we are all about adding value to the aviation community and it really does not matter in what particular area that you participate in, Aviation is a wide field of opportunity and it is always helpful to read other experiences and influences.
Growing up before social media made it hard to find people in the business or to be able to reach out to them. Of course now the scenario is completely different in which the community walls are broken down and adding to the story has become so much easier.