Wednesday, December 29, 2010

son of a pilot

I read a number of pilot blogs.  This recent post by Airline Pilot Chatter got me thinking about Ben and CC being the children of an airline pilot. Airline Pilot Chatter's father was an airline pilot.  How is Airline Pilot Chatter, or anyone whose father is a pilot, different than Steve who's the son of a retired school band director?

I think it is often that a son, or maybe daughter, will follow in the footsteps of his airline pilot father.  There are plenty of guys that Steve flies with who has a father that is/was a pilot.  As a matter of fact, when our sump pump quit at a very critical time a number of years ago, I made an urgent call to him when he was overnight in Detroit.  His FO, whose father was a pilot, made the comment that his mom made many similar calls during his youth.  Our neighbors came over to help and the basement never flooded...thank the good Lord! Said FO said that they also had a nice neighbor that helped out a lot when his dad was on the road.

What sort of advantages or disadvantages does having a father who is a pilot bring?  Yes, I am talking about travel as a child.  But, more so I want to focus on the lifestyle the job brings. 

I think it is totally cool that Airline Pilot Chatter has a history deep of flights and travel memories. All that travel as a young child has to be just awesome. A dear Peace Corps friend of mine has a father who is a retired airline pilot.  She also traveled to far and great places as a child.  Very cool!

Whereas Steve, on the other hand, doesn't have this sort of early history.  As a matter of fact, he has a crystal clear memory of his first flight as a young boy...it was that flight that made him want to be a pilot. That is actually kinda cool, I think.  Ben and CC have been born in this life, and they don't remember their first flight and never will. 


Steve had to learn for himself the industry.  He had to learn for himself how rough the job is physically.  I believe after his first long flight he second-guessed himself and wondered if this is really what he wanted to do, it was that hard on him.  He had to learn for himself how hard it would be to be away from your wife. Absence DOES makes the heart grow fonder.  He had to learn for himself how hard it would be to be away from your kids.  This will always be hard for him...no matter what.  Steve didn't grow up in this lifestyle.  If he knew the toll this job takes on a man, and his family, would he have chosen a different career?


Now, if Ben or CC choose to become a pilot, will they have an easier time with the job?  This is the life they know, so will this be the life they continue?  Will Ben chose a wife already knowing what qualities it takes to be an airline pilot wife?  I think Steve and I lucked out in that my personality (usually) fits the bill.  Will Ben know what it is like to be away from family?  Knowing that Daddy is not home every night, that he missed school events and misses holidays all.the.time, will that make him choose something different?  Or, will he be a pilot and expect this...making it acceptable and just part of the job.


Steve always had holidays on the actual holiday growing up.  Steve always had his parents home every night.  Steve's father was at every sporting evening.  Since Steve's life as a husband and father is not that way now, does that make the job harder for him?  Reality is the world in which we are born.  If Ben or CC know, going, in that being a pilot takes you away from all this, will it make the job easier for them?


Steve and I have had conversations about Ben, or CC, wanting to be a pilot.  Ben already wants to be a pilot...of a fighter jet.  A B650-00 figher jet (his words, not mine).  He also wants to drive a snow plow, and a garbage truck...typical 3-year-old stuff. Steve says that he will support him if he chooses aviation as a career.  I will support Ben too.  I would hope that, if he does become a pilot, he doesn't have growing pains with the job. I hope that expects everything that comes his way. 


Where did all these questions come from, for goodness sake?  Anyone have the answers? I guess some things we will never know, and all the other things we will learn as we go.



What better time to post this picture than now.  This was taken in November in our backyard.  It was used in our holiday cards.  Our happy little family:

3 comments:

  1. What a wonderful family picture! My husband's father was an airline pilot. It gives my husband, and my mother-in-law, different insights into the lifestyle. My husband sees the perks in the time he got to spend with his dad when other kids' dads were at work, while my MIL realizes how hard it is to be that stay-at-home parent. In some ways, it's hard for my husband to see how weird his career is to someone like me, raised in a "normal" family.

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  2. I wonder about those things with our son too. When he was born every one was getting him pilot or aviation related everything. We finally had to say something along the lines that the boy has other interests and we so not want to pidgin hole him into thinking he has to be a pilot. My son in the last three weeks wanted to be a doctor a pilot and of course a fire fighter. He loves all fire fighter things. I love that you explore these questions because they are important. I just keep telling myself that he (son) needs to choose when the time comes a profession that will make him happy. My husband loves his job with the hardships that are different than those that others experience because lets face it every career has pluses and minuses - he says and often "I can't believe they pay me to do this" - I wish that for my boy.

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  3. Thanks for the picture love! That makes me happy that your husband doesn't resent his father in any way. I know plenty of children who don't resent the job, but I also hear of children that do.

    I wish that Steve would say "I can't believe they pay me to do this"...I think I will always remember when I asked Steve why he had so many flight manuals, from different planes, his response was "I collected them when I thought flying was cool." Broke my heart. This job is wearing on him. Not in a downer way, but this job has taken the awe of flight out of him...it is just a job now.

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