During a recent hangar flying session, one pilot made the following complaint: “It used to be, pilots were real aviation enthusiasts. They learned to fly in a Cub, then stepped up to faster airplanes. Even when they were flying Bonanzas or Cessna 310s, they did it because they loved flying. But this new breed of pilots, especially the guys who learn to fly in a Cirrus, they don’t care about the joy of flying. They just use their airplanes to travel.”
Whether you agree with this statement or not, the obvious question is: so what? Does it matter if some pilots see general aviation simply as a convenient way to get around? Do aviation enthusiasts make better pilots?
Some argue that they do. When pilots are really passionate and engaged, they spend more time learning the art of flying, from real world weather to aircraft systems to smooth flying techniques. There’s a desire to understand the finer points of flying and to continually improve. After all, being a safe and proficient pilot means more than just completing the checklist and meeting the PTS standards. A piston airplane, even a Cirrus, is not a mini-airliner.
Other pilots say this is baloney–just a bunch of old timers reminiscing about “the good old days” that never existed. A pilot can be totally committed to safe flying without getting misty-eyed every time he sees a Cub. Thousands of airline pilots prove this every day. Besides, we should welcome pilots in no matter what their motivation.
What do you think? Are some pilots only in it for the transportation value an airplane brings? Does this matter? Is one type of pilot safer than the other? Add a comment below.