My 40-minutes conversation with a pilot.
If you know me well, you’ll know I love to visit new places, new cities, and new countries- But I would be so pleased if I didn’t have to travel by air to get there. It’s simple, I’m acrophobic
I have always thought, “you know what? maybe one day I will finally have a good explanation of how a large tube can hold this amount of weight and still float in the air. Maybe then my fear of heights will suddenly disappear.
During one of my trips back from Bloomington, Illinois- I got lucky. On an American Airlines flight heading to Chicago, where I would then route home to NY, there in the seat next to me was none other than a pilot.
And yes, I took my chance, will never let anything stop me from asking all the questions. I’m on a trip to conquering my fears.
So I struck up a conversation with this gentleman. “Hi, I see you’re a pilot”, I said to him. “Oh yes,’ he answered, “I actually flew this aircraft into Bloomington”. Then followed my series of questions about what makes the plane stay in the air, but let me cut a long story short. It was a great learning experience. Did it allay my fear of heights? Well, I’ll have to wait for my next flight to make double sure”. But yeah, I had a smooth flight to NYC from Chicago. In fact, I actually slept throughout that flight.
Over the last few days I have found myself thinking over our conversation again. For me, the most important aspects are the life lessons that one can glean from this 40minutes chat. I have summarized them within these 3 points.
1. If you keep moving, you’ll definitely fly: The only way a plane is able to take enough air to make lift is because the engine keeps pushing it forward. The forward thrust the plane makes at high speed, makes air flow around its wings. Key Lesson: Keep moving! The force that pushes you will make you come across other forces that will lift you up.
2. Pay attention to the tinniest detail: The ailerons! These tiny slabs of aluminum are the reason why planes are able to move from left to right. It can be so easy to overlook the tinniest component; the defect that won’t necessary stop the product from shipping, or stop that product launch. However, the difference between your success and failure might be dependent upon that tiny defect you overlooked. Key Lesson: Always go the extra mile! Look through the details, pay attention to them.
3. The arts that push humanity further can be so simple in concept, but may take a lifetime to figure: 30 minutes into the conversation with the pilot, I sat back in my seat and looked out of the window again to see the wings of the plane. I couldn’t help but think about how simple the concept of flying is, and how much it took of humanity to figure out this great invention. The biggest lesson for me here is this, “if the solution still sounds complicated, then maybe we’re not at the answer yet. The solution should be simple. The concept of it as simple as the concept of flying”.