A Seaplane Pilots New Years Resolution
Guest Editorial written by Eric Granger — I can clearly remember the C-130 load-master punching me so hard with his weighty potato sack of a hand that I was unable to close my jaw for a week. As my head was bouncing off the floor I was thinking to myself, “I wish I would have stuck to my New Year’s resolution of NO FIGHTING!” Another lost opportunity.
If I would have kept my word with ALL my previous resolutions (Lose weight, go to the gym, drink less, etc.) I feel that night with the load-master and his crew would have turned out much differently. Perhaps a lot more laughs and quite a few less bandages.
That is the point of resolutions, to increase your potential for having a good time. In nearly all resolutions, you can imagine yourself at the end of a difficult year. Standing proudly on the mountaintop, your flag waving behind you in the breeze, one fist triumphantly cocked in the air, with a faint half smile. Goal accomplished! (Or at least you lost 5kg)
Well here it is! My 2019 New Years resolution. This year it involves my aviation career decision-making process. While it is certainly a viable and lucrative decision to fly for a major airline, and the possibilities are endless at this time in our life, it is not my particular brand of adventure.
As such, I VOW TO TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED AND CONTINUE MY CAREER AS A FREEWHEELIN’ FLOAT DRIVER ON THE HIGH SEAS!
That’s right, I will toss away the stability, the pay, the finely pressed jackets and super lubricated rolling luggage. There will be no patting little children on the head while whistling Do-Da and strolling past TGI Fridays. Certainly no flight attendant will come running to give me coffee!
The airlines are great for some, and most certainly necessary, but I don’t want an SOP that states Hal 9000 will be the auto-commander. I worked hard for my license; I want to reap the rewards. Anyways, I personally think Hal has glitches. It is the adventure of Seaplanes that keeps my blood pumping. Sure there is the inevitable tangent which always causes anxiety, but that IS the excitement of our particular skill set. This IS the excitement of our life!
We don’t have runways labeled 13/31. We don’t have a tower telling us to be aware of a pack of energized jet skis behaving like soccer hooligans. We have our wits; we have a continuously scanning eye. We see ever changing sea conditions and we adjust accordingly within seconds. We have the desire to go out and forge ahead. Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!
It is this freedom of flight that demonstrates the true joy of aviation. Gently climbing over the mountain peaks before descending with the cascading waterfall to splash down in pristine waters. Arriving at distant locations while the unsuspecting villagers look on in awe. Taxiing abeam the seashore, mesmerized by the ebbing swell against the backdrop of asymmetrical palm trees. I have made a lot of New Years Resolutions in my time, some worked out, most did not, but I feel I have a real fundamental desire on keeping this one.
Eric Granger is a Commercial Seaplane Pilot and has flown float planes in many countries. Currently he is enjoying the sweetness of life in Viti Levu, Fiji. He finds balance and unwinds from his incredibly stressful work together with his wife from Athens, his son and his daughter. His goal remains to keep having fun, while getting as many splash downs as possible.