The story of my first time in a Bonny.
I had just come out of 3-months of lockdown.
Post-surgery, post-retrenchment, post-near-mental-breakdown, this flight changed my way of thinking. Not only about Beechcraft, but of life itself.
I had only just made it to the job of my dreams, flying float plane in the Maldives. Now I worry endlessly as to what to do with myself moving forward.
A lot of people have been suffering, myself included. Particularly within the aviation industry, which has gone from major pilot shortage to industry shutdown almost overnight.
Sure, it has been inconvenient for me, having to move back home with my mom, but we have managed to cope.
I can only imagine the shock someone later down the career path must be experiencing. With major commitments like a family, dog, a house, car, mortgage, a seemingly endless list of things to attend to.
Each of these burdens stacking up against the pilots present dilemma. The ominous prospect of immediate (and in many instances unforeseen) termination of employment. My thoughts go out to you all.
Initially, this online platform was to keep myself busy during the indefinite duration of lockdown and spread a message of hope to young aviators starting out.
Attempting to put things into perfective for these young student pilots with whom I can still relate. The past few weeks however, has opened my eyes to a more poignant issue. That of the generation that came before us.
The ones that have committed their entire lives to the love of aviation. Now mid-40s facing global social disaster. Or the generation before them, now in their 50s, forced into early retirement.
Many looking at the reality of reduced severance packages. Particularly here In South Africa. Veterans have been offered pennies in return for a lifetimes contribution. It is this psychological shake down in these times of unrest, brought on by a global crisis (not unlike those in times of war), that needs more attention.
For the standard, stereotypical pilot, unproductivity and uncertainty are terms we tend to frown upon. Now with crew cuts, not the hairstyle but the mass termination of employment, it has become an unavoidable part of our daily lives.
I can’t think of a single person that this outbreak has not affected. Many considering changing careers, if not already forced to leave the industry completely. these times certainly are unprecedented.
One thing I have noticed however, is that a certain few have found reason to hold onto the hope of a brighter future.
Whether optimistic or just plane-crazy, it hardly matters. The fact is that these are the ones forging on. Looking for opportunity in the ashes, or holding on for the dawn of a new day.
Unfortunately, the short term prospects are not great. A flooded market of experienced pilots means low time, newly qualified pilots will struggle to compete.
It’s only natural to be questioning your career path, and if you need to take a sabbatical from the flying, don't feel ashamed in doing so!
It is in adversity we grow and through failure that we learn. Use this time to reassess you're priorities.
Life moves fast enough as it is and the truth is, we will recover from this sooner or later. We have before and we will again. smooth seas never made for a skilled sailor.
The question you have to ask yourself is, where will you be when the opportunities start to turn around?
If you are serious about aviation, take the advice from our recent podcast guest Caitlyn Costa, who now flies a Global in Australia!
She too faced many challenges. With the help and guidance from her mentors, she was able to navigate uncertainty with the guidance of helpful advice. This is one of her own:
1. Keep a foot in the door
(If you do have to divert from your flying dreams for a moment, it doesn't mean you have to go for good. There are many places looking for part time work or a helping hand between the hangars here and there. Take any chance you get. A simple tether like this can prove life changing later down the line.)
At the end of the day, aviation is in our blood. The thrill of flight, the adventure and excitement it provides will always be there, pumping through our veins.
It’s important to remember that and to try remind ourselves how far we have come. It can be as simple as going for a quick flip around the paddock.
That was the case for me at atleast. After almost two groggy weeks of depression and despair, I decided it was time to fly.
Turns out a family friend was off on a last minute trip to fetch his son. He was kind enough to let me accompany him.
Funny how these things work out. It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time. Within the span of a day I went from grim to glee.
The simple act of taking to the skies once again had refilled my tanks and renewed my hope. For anyone still going through a tough time out there, I couldn’t recommend it more.
So, ask around. When you start looking it’s amazing how things work out in your favour. But you have got to take that first step to get out of that slump.
Remind yourself what it’s all about. Something so simple, yet in times like these, it might just be all you need.
This post started out as tribute to the Bonanza, but turned into something else entirely.
I'll be sure to write another post soon.
Maybe a comparative look at the newly acquainted Bonanza versus the all too familiar Cirrus...
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