In our brand’s title there are only two words that matter, “plane” and “pilot.” Because I see that title hundreds of times a day, it’s easy for me to look right past its meaning, though when it comes down to what we do, it’s embedded in our DNA.
Of those terms, the more important by far is the second, “pilot.” We’re all about pilots, people like you and me, for whom flying feels like everything, or close to it. We know, too, that try as they might, folks who aren’t pilots don’t get it, or even what “it” is. Which is understandable. It’s not easy to put the experience into words, but here goes. Flying is the sense of wonder, challenge, joy and oneness that I get when I’m up there, just me, my plane and the sky.
So let me say it out loud here. Nothing about the coronavirus pandemic, nothing about the shutdowns, layoffs, cancellations and delays do anything to rob us of those essential elements. They were there waiting for Orville and Wilbur in 1903, they were there before this terrible virus got its start, and they’ll be there when all this bad stuff is at our six, its blip on the screen growing fainter as we accelerate.
In his piece on airline downsizing amidst the COVID-19 crisis in our eNews, Plane & Pilot Senior Editor Jeremy King talked about how for airline pilots who have been around for a while, furloughs are a rite of passage. When you’ve been through a few of them, you learn to recognize that blue skies are great, but they’re only a part of the picture. Diversions for severe weather are a part of the game. The same is true for GA. Because we’re small and few in number, we face challenges all the time, especially but not exclusively political ones. Whether it’s the threat of user fees, the high cost of avgas, the scarcity of parts for our well-loved older planes, or the seemingly endless and pointless hoops the FAA has us jump through, we know all about challenges.
And it doesn’t stop us. Hell, it doesn’t even slow us down. Because part of who we are, part of what we’re made of, is stuff that’s too strong for anything to bring down. That’s because what we do is composed of things that cannot be defeated. It’s made of hope, faith and confidence, with just the right amount of swagger thrown into the mix.
So while this coronavirus is causing disruption in aviation like we’ve never seen, it won’t bring us down, and in the end, it won’t even slow us down. Because our strength and our faith in who we are and what we do are stronger than it can ever be.