I love to fly! It’s something I really look forward to. I love all aspects of it, sans packing.
When I was a kid, I can remember my dad, and grandfather taking me to the end of one of the runways at Chicago O’hare airport to watch the planes land. What a magical memory that is. Still, to this day, I will find myself heading up to the airport to watch them take off, and land.
When I was younger, my dream was to become a pilot. I wanted to go to school at the Air Force Academy, and fly the F-16.
As I got older, I started to do as much research as I could to start down my path of becoming an airline pilot. The first time I remember meeting, and talking to a pilot, I was about 14. My father and I were golfing, and we got grouped up with a pilot for Northwest Airlines. This was the most exciting round of golf ever! I asked him so many questions, and as I think about it now, I am thrilled that he had the patience to deal with a 14 year old jaw jacking him for 18 holes about his job.
I was in high school, and mentally preparing myself for this dream path when I started to get information fed to me that left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Career day came one day when I was in 10th grade. And one of the first booths I came to was a captain for Northwest Airlines. I thought to myself, “this is perfect”! I was recalling my golf meeting with my good friend “the pilot” a few years back. I sat down, and he asked me why I wanted to become a pilot…as I gave my answer, he stopped me half way through and told me a story. When he first became a pilot, it was his dream job as well. But lately, times had changed in the airline industry, and he now felt like a “glorified bus driver in the sky”.
At first, I was very confused. And very let down. Here was someone I wanted to become, and he is telling me things about this career that make me want to jump ship. Long, boring days…poor treatment from passengers…very low pay to start…crazy hours…and lack of respect from management. I was devastated by the end of my 10 minutes. Amazing how a 10 minute conversation completely changed the course in my life.
I often times wonder what would have came from a career in aviation. How it would have molded me. I still carry some regret for choosing a different path. I still find myself watching planes take off, and land….and I smile and think about what could’ve been. 37 years old is a bit late to change direction in life. Or is it?