Why do you fly?

Published in Midwest Flyer – December 2018/January 2019 issue

What if someone walked up to you today as you completed your preflight inspection and asked, “Why do you fly?” What would your response be? You feel there is time pressure to answer. You were just about to climb into the cockpit to do your setup and preflight cockpit checks. The temperature is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and conditions are Clear Air Visibility Unlimited (CAVU). You really want to get going, but you feel compelled to answer. You don’t want to look or sound silly and just say, “because it is fun.” But what will you say that will be honest and true?

Your thoughtful pause prompts the asking person to ask further, “why are you doing this?” Thomas White, CEO, The C-Suite Network, says, “Why” is the question that really exposes purpose (the reason something exists or is done). How many times do you set out to do something, and if you aren’t stopped and asked, “Why are you doing this?” you don’t really know the answer. We are reactive by nature and often don’t consider the question of “why” before taking an action.

Author Bruce E. Pease said, “The human mind is ‘wired’ to ask ‘Why?’ It is essential to understanding cause and effect. The ape might understand that fire burns without understanding why it burns. But ‘Why?’ is the question that allows the human to harness and create fire.” It can also be the question that helps that human grow, prosper and excel in life. But there is more to the ‘why’ than a simple, ‘because,’ or ‘because I can.’

Now with that in mind, think for a moment of what first peaked your interest in flying and why it did so? Was it the unique sound of an airplane overhead that seemed exciting to you as a child? Was it the perceived excitement and thrill of flight that caught your attention? Was it a special aviator who was a hero to you and has fueled your passion for aviation? Or was it a true calling?

To the casual (non-aviator) observer, flight and flying is a strange and seemingly dangerous thing. But to those who have had flying etch itself into their very being, flying is life and what makes living simply wonderful. So, take some time this winter and recall the joy you felt when you discovered aviation. Then plan to share that joy with young people in your neighborhood. Invite them to your local airport to see, touch and feel the excitement that exists there. Plant the seeds for a new generation of aviators by sharing with them why you fly!

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