With uncertainty swirling around us everywhere, and no idea what is going to happen next, it is hard for young people to know what career to pursue. There is, though, one thing every young person would like to know: How To Make A Great Living Doing What You Love. In the early part of the last century a new frontier - aviation - opened up with opportunity for anyone with enough courage and desire to make a name for themselves. The attraction of aviation back then was more than just the challenge - it was also the money! Most everyone knows that Charles Lindbergh was the first pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo, seminal accomplishment for sure. But what most may not know that the incentive was money. The Orteig Prize A gentleman hotelier by the name of Raymond Orteig offered a prize of $ 25,000 to the first aviator to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. Lindbergh, of course, was the winner of this prize with his flight of May 20-21, 1927; however, the prize had been established back in 1919 - some 8 years earlier! A number of pilots had perished trying to wing this prize and be the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic, but until Lindbergh convinced some investors to build a specially designed aircraft - called "The Spirit of St. Louis" - no one had been successful. Fame and fortune followed, and advancements in aviation came fast and furious. For almost a century the idea of flight, and flying airplanes, attracted interest from young and old alike. Many times families would go to the local airport just to watch the airplanes take off and land. In the early days of television there were shows like "Sky King" and the "Bob Cummings" show that featured flying airplanes as a big part of their program line up. In the 60s the space race was on, and everyone was glued to their televisions to observe every launch. What Happened To The Enthusiasm? As pilots we love the freedom of flight. With experience we soon begin to feel a part of the airplane, and to really enjoy the independence of operating a complex machine in a hostile environment which challenges our every skill. Until you experience flight where you are in control of an airplane you will never know the exhilaration that comes from challenging gravity and the elements. Each flight presents new conditions, and as the flight progresses conditions change, creating an environment where skills are challenged and abilities tested. And You Can Be Paid To Do This? Once someone experiences the thrill of piloting an aircraft their lives are never the same. Once you escape the bounds of earth and face the vastness of the sky the world never looks the same. The road to this freedom is long and difficult, but worthy of the effort. Once a young pilot has accumulated the requisite number of hours, passed numerous tests and paid their dues, a great job awaits them. Not just as an airline pilot, but many other opportunities exist in aviation. What Kind Of Pilot Do You Want To Be? There are many more types of flying than I can describe here, but the range from being that solitary occupant flying a Cessna Caravan loaded with packages through the evening sky to spraying a farmers field to landing a helicopter on a pad offshore. The point is that aviation remains exciting, and is full of challenges. Not only does aviation offer variety of occupations, but there are still any number of prizes remaining to be won. Encourage Every Youngster You Meet Pilots used to be a dime a dozen, but not any more. The military produced a lot during the war, and many became airline pilots, but that source has nearly dried up. It is up to us - the current pilots and aviators - to encourage youngsters at as early an age as possible to get involved in aviation. Spend time with them, take them for a flight, help them build a model airplane. After all, the answer to the question "How to make a great living doing what you love" is: learn to fly - we need you! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 I learned that danger is relative, and the inexperience can be a magnifying glass. — Charles A. Lindbergh ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!
by John M. White •