Doing the Right Thing

I read an article published in Flying Magazine that was one of the best articles I have ever read. The article started with the observation of a cropduster landing to reload his hopper and then taking off again. The pilot impressed the author of the article by flying professionally and “doing the right thing.”

The writer described how the old duster pilot did not waste any aspect of the flight; when he landed the big agplane, he landed exactly on a point to minimize his taxi to the tanks where he would fill his hopper. The magazine author was also impressed with the pilot’s skill in both the landing and taxi in from the landing area, which the agpilot accomplished with very little use of brakes.

The author wanted his readers to get the message that the old cropduster pilot flew his airplane by the rules, as if he were flying a checkride – although no one was really observing.  Except the writer – who, unknown to the pilot, was looking on from afar.

Both the pilot and the writer impressed me. The pilot, for his skills as an aviator as described by the author and the writer, for his keen observations and talent at describing the pilot’s competence.

It was a very good article. It is something I strive to teach each of my students today. Fly the airplane as if everyone is watching and judging, even if none one is around to see.

Doing the right thing also goes beyond the mere flying skills; doing the right thing includes following through with proper adherence to the regulations. Many pilots have great stick and rudder skills and unfortunately, must rely on those skills when their basic headwork fails them. This may place them into serious trouble which may require extraordinary flying to rectify.  Not only must you have highly honed flying skills, you also have to exercise good judgment.

If you fly with great skill and use good judgment, more than likely you will never find yourself in trouble. Additionally, your passengers will enjoy the ride and you will always have repeat business.

Another important aspect about flying right regards your equipment. If you are flying well, you are probably treating your equipment with the respect it is due. More than likely, when you most need your equipment to work, it will. An old pilot once said, “If you take care of the airplane, it’ll take care of you.”

There is one word which is perfect to describe everything in the few paragraphs above. We do not use this particular word enough; many professionals in various fields in addition to aviation often overlook or ignore this word.

The word?


Fly well out there – you never know who may be watching.


© 2010 J. Clark

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