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Ok, many of you may not be familiar with this curious phenomenon. Jet Jock is my pet name for professional pilots that not only don’t fly outside of their day job, they are actually repulsed by the idea.
I first encountered this species of aviator in my youth. The local airport was home base for a large corporate flight department. Their facilities were up on the North end of the field and never in all my years flying did I see any of those pilots. They must have jumped out of their corporate rocket ships and blazed a trail for the lake or the golf course.
I remember wondering why they wouldn’t come down and check out all the neat stuff we had going on at the FBO.
Later in my career I ran into this again and found that it is pretty common. Common enough that those of us in my company that still fly GA actually stick together.
That’s not to say that just because a pro pilot isn’t actively flying for pleasure doesn’t mean they don’t want too. Many can’t afford the extravagance, but would love to do it at the first opportunity.
In my opinion the majority are not interested though. I have heard phrases like “bug smasher” and “props are for boats” more than a few times among the Jet Jock crowd.
Some of this is tongue n’ cheek, but often it is real disenfranchisement, disgruntled that aviation has taken them away from their loved ones or hobbies and left them burnt-out.
I believe some never had the passion for small airplanes, even when they flew them in training, rather they always had their eye on the big iron. Nothing wrong with that I suppose.
It may also be their current phase of life. Family, finances, and other interests can strip aviators from their roots, but the itch will often come back around. Frankly, I think is the biggest cause for this phenomenon. I found myself in this category, taking a 6 year break after starting a family. Luckily I found my way back again.
No matter the cause, it’s probably all human nature. There is a phrase that is sometimes referenced, “a great way to ruin a good hobby is to make it your business.” Although, I don’t believe this is entirely true for this vocation.
If you are thinking about flying for a living, remember these words and don’t let yourself fall into the trap. If you are an accountant, you aren’t likely to do taxes for fun on the weekend, but this ain’t bean-counting folks! Flying for a living is a privilege, not a curse.
If you are a pro pilot, but not a Jet Jock, I encourage you to reach out to your fellow GA-flying-peers and enjoy that esprit de corps that comes with knowing that you guys have your cake and are eating it too!
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