Does flying lack value? In talking to a pilot friend I hadn’t seen in a while, the topic of flying came up, of course.
He mentioned he wasn’t flying and wanted to buy an airplane, but didn’t want anything he could afford. His tastes were beyond his budget and he would rather go without than comprise.
In this particular case we have a fully rated, experienced pilot that isn’t flying at all. So is it really about owning the right airplane or something else? He has access to a wide range of nice rentals in our area. Certainly renting would be far cheaper for him than owning.
Our conversation was cut short before I could probe further, that’s unfortunate because I’m really intrigued by this mentality. I wonder, how common is this line of thinking?
I could be judgmental and say he simply lacks passion or imagination and that may be true, but I feel like there’s something larger at play here; more like a general perceived lack of value in flying..
In today’s world there are so many interests competing for our time that it begs the question; does flying provide enough value to justify the time and money?
This is one if the reasons more socially connected pilot communities flourish, belonging provides the additional value-add that tips the scales.
Want to fix the pilot problem? We have to build local communities of pilots where everyone feels like they are part of something bigger than themselves. You might have heard me harp about this in previous posts, but it’s still true and conversations like this reminds me that we are not growing as an industry.
I honestly believe this would fix my friend’s problem of choosing not to fly. The good news is there are several people working on ‘plug-and-play’ local organizations/clubs to do just that - AOPA and Aviation Access are two that are working this actively . The EAA long ago recognized this and their successful chapter network has kept a lot of folks flying over the years. (See related article here)
It won’t be an easy task, but there are some really large untapped markets out there ripe for this kind of nudge in the right direction. Once it gets started, it can be self-sustaining – the old adage, “a crowd draws a crowd” fits here.
Does flying lack value for you?