Heart Ache

So, you're an aviator and you're sittin' around the ops. room tryin' to read some article in USA Today and decide if it's written by an actual journalist or just by someone who was recently fired from the Springer show's writing staff, and suddenly you realize that Don Johnson's only charted song from the 80's "Heart Ache" keeps running through your brain and you can't stop it... does that mean that death is stalking you?

From my years of aviation experience, I'd say... probably not. You see, when things are frustrating, weird, crummy or all of the above, you're the most likely to be on the right path in aviation. It is only when you think you've got it made, or you've hit the jackpot that you are really about to be cast into the pit of aviation excrement.

As I recall, the day I got hired at my first regional airline, which happened to be the second highest paying regional in the nation, I really thought I had it made. Sure, they were making us pay for training, but it was in the middle of the hiring slump of the early 1990s and everyone was being forced into PFT to get any job anyhow- so why not be happy at recouping my investment a bit faster at a higher pay-rate? You bet I was a happy camper. Three months later, however, when I was furloughed with severance pay and stuck with a five figure debt, I felt a bit different.

Of course I should have known better- when I was a CFI I'd always wait for my students doing dual cross-country flights to get about 5 miles from our home airport and then ask them how they thought the flight had gone. They'd smile and say "Terrific" and I'd pull the engine on them. The lesson being to never let down your guard, because that is the moment when the big hand of aviation is going reach out and give you a karmic wedgie that you'll remember.

Thus the lesson is, that when you are sitting around ops. and you are pondering the fact that you decided not to send in that matchbook cover application to the Southern Georgia School of Truck Drivin' and instead ended up at your current aviation company that sucks so bad- you're probably safe to go flying. On the other hand, if you've just gotten engaged to a super-model and you have a winning lottery ticket in your pocket plus your current company actually DID take delivery on those new aircraft that they promised would be "coming soon" while ground is being broken for a new terminal... instead of flying, you may as well just go out and crawl into a big black ziplock bag and wait for the end to come- that way there will be less of you spread around for the NTSB to pick up.

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