Legacy is not what I did for myself. It’s what I’m doing for the next generation. – Vitor Belfort
For those of us without children of our own, imparting into the next generation takes a different path. My spouse teaches and we employ young people to help with yard work. Sometimes I work in the church nursery and help with the kid’s services. These provide opportunity to interact and pass along knowledge, skills and wisdom.
But there is one activity I inherited from my father: giving prospective pilots an introduction to flight. Taking a young person up for their first flight is an awesome responsibility and, such fun!
“A Penny A Pound” was the cost sharing method pilots used in my hometown. Although the focus was young people, anyone could take a ride. These events, got folks out to the airport and into the air. It was a combination publicity, open house and flight introduction day.
I am sure in my Dad’s mind it served to subliminally demonstrate the value of the local airport to those who were not engaged in the aviation world. No doubt he was also quietly drumming up support for airport improvements including a hard surface runway. Those seeds took more than 30 years to come to fruition, but they did.
From One Generation
A recent Facebook post from Plainville, KS reminded me of those hometown events. I did not participate since I already had my first ride and this was for others who needed an opportunity to experience flight
Besides, I could ride with my dad anytime I wanted to. The comments in the Facebook post of memories from one of those events were evidence of seeds coming to fruition. Some of those first riders did go on to become pilots.
To Another Generation
I continue this tradition. The best part is, I am doing it in the same airplane as my father: N3052G, a 1961 Forney F1-A Aircoupe. It is the perfect airplane to take a young person up the first time. Very docile, great visibility and just plane (pardon the pun) cute!
I usually fly under the EAA Young Eagles program. Our local chapter hosts an event once a month provided there are pilots to fly and weather cooperates.
From One Generation To The Next
I recently took three young folks up, two girls and a boy. It had been a while since I had flown anyone new, but the joy never wears off. In fact, I plan to fly this coming weekend as long as all the variables line up. Fingers crossed.
Becoming a pilot is difficult to inspire by just talking about it. This is definitely a “catch the bug” sort of thing. Actually taking a flight is the way to get infected.
Once caught, the time, expense, effort, learning and paperwork become a right of passage for that magic moment, when your wheels leave the ground and you are airborne on your own for the first time.
From One Generation, One Flight At A Time
Imparting the “flying bug” from one generation to the next is done one flight, one person at a time. You know the seed will germinat well by the big smile each one wears after a flight, as they jump down from the wing and run to tell their parents…..this is a legacy. From one generation, Dad, to me, to the next, the little red Aircoupe is there.
Do you have a particular “thing” you enjoy passing on? A skill? An area of expertise? Please share in the comments below.