Airplanista Blog Editor
Sometime in about the third year of every boy's life, it happens. Their career path as an adult is etched in their brain for all time, and with a few exceptions, if you ask most three-year-old boys what they want to be when they grow up, the answer is always the same:
Grinning wide, the tot will look up at you and with great seriousness, tell you it'll be fireman, astronaut, cowboy or airline pilot. While the first three can be debated and the answers vary widely, it is almost a foregone conclusion that all young boys - and even a few girls - want to be airline pilots. I know one that did...me.Now, 54 years later, is it any surprise that I STILL want to be an airline pilot? Of course, that isn't going to happen, because I can't afford the schooling and time-building it would take just to get an interview with a carrier. And once I got in the room, they'd take one look at my middle-aged self and realize in an instant that with mandatory retirement looming, the money it would take to train me to be a good little line pilot would be a really sorry ROI.
But if I throw out all reality, there are a number of very cool aviation jobs I'd love to have:
10. Airline Pilot:Yes, what private stick wouldn't really want to be at the controls of a 747 as it carried several hundred souls on a Great Circle route over the North Pole en route to Europe? Even a left seat job driving CRJ-700s might be a rewarding way to fill the bank account once you worked through that bitter period where you fly right seat on a dinky regional and they pay you just a few bucks over minimum wage because they know your only goal in life at that point is to build time.
9. Charter pilot:Sure, you spend a lot of time lounging around FBOs, surfing the Internets on their free wi-fi, eating free cookies and waiting for the boss to finish gladhanding downtown. But look at all the awesome hardware you get to fly! And having the honchos in back change up the trip mid-flight so they can get in nine holes in Florida (or Hawaii) would keep you at the top of your piloting/flight planning game.
8. Airshow performer:What a wild life you'd have, hopping from airshow to airshow, wringing out your Edge 540 to the adoring throngs of fans below. Yes, you mostly live in hotels for a good amount of the year, and yes, you damned well better be in great physical shape which means you're in the gym whenever you're not tail-diving out of a Hammerhead. Oh, and you get to go to Oshkosh every year, how sweet is THAT?
7. Astronaut:What a rush it would be to blast off at the Cape and go floating around space for a couple of weeks. Enjoy spacewalks in the morning, a lunch of Tang and dehydrated Pork and Beans, closing out the day in the cocktail lounge aboard the ISS. Look a few years out and you'll get to pilot a yet-to-be-designed spacecraft up to the moon, hauling freight for all the new neighborhoods that will be going up. Hopefully, there will be no SUVs among that cargo.
6. CEO of a major airframe manufacturer:Now THIS is living! Jetting off to Miami for a morning board meeting, smoozing with ultra-high rollers in Vegas for lunch before slipping into something more comfortable...like Maui, after hours. Somewhere in there, you force yourself to make a few tough decisions, and come up with new ways to justify your $34 million annual salary.
5. President of AOPA:Who wouldn't want to lead such an important organization? AOPA is the most valuable asset GA has right now, and what a joy it would be to wake up every morning, strap on the gloves and head over to D.C. on the a.m. train to duke it out with the clown posse up on The Hill. And a huge bonus is the exceptional staff at AOPA HQ that you get to surround yourself with!
4. Burt Rutan's personal assistant "back in the day":What right-minded pilot wouldn't have wanted to be a fly on the wall in Rutan's world back in the Voyager days? You KNOW he has one guy or gal who is welded to him at the hip, someone who knows everything about everything that is going on at the Rutan Skunk Works. We all know that the stuff Rutan comes up with blows our mind, and with commercial space travel just around the corner, even in "retirement" you can bet the farm he has more than we know about going on down there in Mojave.
3. Boeing sales guy:You walk into the room, wearing a $5,000 Brooks Brothers suit, with a couple of beautiful female “assistants” wearing tight black 787 shirts following. One – a tall, blonde number from Sweden – carries your fine Italian briefcase, while the other – an ex-Laker girl that could stop traffic – carries a stack of jetliner order forms. Before you can even sip the free scotch they're offering you, the bigwigs from the airline are clawing at those order forms, shouting “more, more more!” It's your Dreamliner and 777X they're after, baby, and they can't get enough. Life as a Boeing sales rep these days is about that sweet, at least it is in my wild imagination. O.K., we all know Dick Knapinski, EAA's Director of Media Relations, is not going anywhere, he is a fixture at EAA HQ. The guy manages to stay cool during the most intense week of the aviation year, juggling 1,000 camera crews sometimes while Mother Nature slaps Central Wisconsin upside the head. But can you even IMAGINE how cool it must be to live, eat, sleep and breathe Airventure 12 months of the year? Sure, the historically large Wisconsin mosquitoes and winter snow drifts would prevent me from living IN Oshkosh, but as a long-time media guy, it has to be a thrill a minute to be on the "inside" of Airventure. Yeah, Dick's job must be way cool, until you have to write the press release that announces all those good people with paid reservations for Camp Sholler have to camp over at the abandoned Sears parking lot because of "Sloshkosh" or some other unforeseen disruption.
2. EAA Media Relations Guru:
1. What I'm doing right now: As I try to live in the present and not look back on the "what if" of yesterday, I am content doing my current gig...aviation writer for FOUR magazines, ad agency president, graphic designer and ad campaign developer. Am I too busy? Hell yeah. But it's a good busy...and I will take busy over sitting around, head in hands, waiting for the next little job to come in so I can pay the rent.What is your fantasy aviation job? Head over to Twitter and tell the #Avgeek world.