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Ok we say we want to grow the industry, but do we really? I feel like there are plenty among us who could care less. Maybe if you stopped and asked them directly they wouldn’t be so callous, but their actions elucidate their mentality.
If you are the ones among us that are active in growing our community, I applaud your efforts and certainly this article isn’t directed at you.
Honestly I think there is a large group of aviators that are completely apathetic to the fact we are shrinking.
Not all, but some of these folks are grinding away in two-pilot cockpits around the world and the last thing they want to think about on their days off is flying (see related article). The fact that new pilots aren’t starting training and current ones are dropping out doesn’t alarm them one bit. On the contrary, their relative financial value in the market goes up – supply and demand. So I don’t think we going to get much help here. (I know this is a glaring generalization and that there are thousands of pro pilots that are busting their hump to promote aviation, some of which are collaborators on the Blogging In Formation series).
Then you have the elitists we don’t want to share and actually like it being exclusive. Their ego purrs when they ruminate about the fact they are doing something only a tiny fraction of the population can do. They quietly wrap themselves in the warm blanket of hubris and they certainly don’t go out of their way to share that with anyone, unless it’s to further their own standing.
Then we have others who just aren’t a people oriented, which I think is somewhat bred into our ranks. Our type A personalities and rugged individualism aren’t conducive to the plays well with others persona.
Like my friend Andrew bemoans on his blog (link here), we have a lot of work to do getting our customer service skills on that right track. Of course, the challenge is fixing this problem across a network of thousands of airports and facilities. Thank goodness for the internet as we start to see our culture reach for the keyboard before driving out to the airport. At least this way, they might end up finding the right place before being totally turned off.
The problem is collectively we just don’t have the right mentality.
Organizations like EAA, YAA, AOPA and others do a decent job of promoting fellowship and camaraderie, but it’s up to us to execute.
I am lucky to know dozen of aviators that set the standard (related article here) for how this should be done. They selflessly go out of their way to promote aviation and preach the gospel of flight and it’s all grass-roots. They aren’t organizing big fly-ins or coming up with the next big program; they are changing the face of aviation one person at a time.
Image what it would do for our industry if each active pilot went out and recruited one newbie or resurrected someone who left our ranks. Would we not double in size – theoretically?
We all need to make a conscious effort to be better ambassadors to aviation and then we need to do the hard part – follow through.
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