Share Thumbs-Up Moments With Everyone

By Scott Spangler on March 10th, 2009

thumbsup If you haven’t heard, the Internet and blogs like JetWhine are killing print journalism. Slowly, community journalists, everyday people with an interest in their community, are becoming our primary source of news. If you doubt this, watch TV news and count how many times the talking heads attribute part of their stories–or the subjects themselves–to an online source.

Like it or not, whether we get it in print, on TV, or online, news shapes our views of the world. As members of the online aviation community, why not use this to our benefit? Let’s recognize all positive pilot performance, not just that which catches national attention, like US Airways Flight 1549. At almost every airport is a Captain Sully, doing what’s best for aviation.

All too often, when someone picks on something dear to us the first reaction is to get defensive, to engage in a useless he-said, she-said, “oh, yeah, well what about” war of words that changes no one’s minds. Rather than blathering in blogs about what’s wrong with aviation, let us praise what’s right. The beleaguered and often battered business aviation community provides a perfect example.

We in aviation readily understand aviation’s contribution to business, the old time is money argument. In better times, people might understand. But today they are not in the mood to listen because they don’t care a whit about the over paid executives and middle managers who led us into our current situation. Let’s face it, aviation’s association with these executives is what ignited the current anti-aviation firestorm.

JetWhine_Citation_Special Olympics AirliftInstead of spewing defensive rhetoric, let’s show the congregation of everyday Americans the benefits general aviation brings to daily life. Business aviation can’t be all bad when a local business transports a cancer patient as a member of the Corporate Angel Network or participates in the Citation Special Olympics Airlift. If the community holds a fundraiser for this person, aviation should be a visible participant.

Everyday pilots do scores of unrecognized good deeds, but for whatever reason, they never seems to crawl over the airport fence. Is it any wonder aviation is seen as an elite aerial misanthrope?

YoungEagles When you’re at the airport and learn about some pilot’s good deed, set it free. If pilots hold an EAA Young Eagles rally for the students at the local CP school, don’t call the local paper and expect someone to cover the event for you. (Why not? See my opening paragraph.) Do it yourself. This has added benefit: as an individual, a member of the community, you don’t carry the baggage of some agenda, which is clearly sensed by media savvy readers who’ve been fielding propagandic spin since birth.

The examples of good aviation deeds are endless. Transporting a local patient for Angel Flight. A flight attendant goes the extra mile. A tower controller brings an anxious student safely back to earth. An FBO establishes an internship for local students. You name it. When aviation does something good, be proactive and share the details. Just remember to speak English, not Aviation.

If you must, you can start  with your online aviation friends, but don’t stop there. Search out and post the story on every appropriate online source you can find. Start with the newspaper,  if your town still has one. All of them have community news blogs and links to others in the community. Bad news sells, but when you’re drowning in it, good news lasts because it’s a life ring of hope. — Scott Spangler

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4 Responses to “Share Thumbs-Up Moments With Everyone”

  1. Patrick Flannigan Says:

    “Everyday pilots do scores of unrecognized good deeds, but for whatever reason, they never seems to crawl over the airport fence. Is it any wonder aviation is seen as an elite aerial misanthrope? ”

    I once had an instructor tell me that “if he ain’t whining, he ain’t flying,” as a rule of thumb about professional pilots. To a large degree it is absolutely true, we have a tendency to find the raincloud in the bluest of skies.

    Thanks for reminding me about the countless amazing and positive things that the aviation community is responsible for every day.

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