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He Asked Me Why

He Asked Me Why  

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Author: Walt Whittler   Date: 6/9/2019 9:14:35 PM  +19/-4  

I can't seem to break away from HAA. There are a lot of reasons, none of them good, but they're the only reasons I have and they will have to do. 

So mostly I reach Maslow's final level of need by giving advice. It's not often I get to do it; still more seldom when it's understood.

Today a New Man visiting our region remarked, "I can't believe how many flights get turned down around this neck of the woods, when the weather is perfectly OK." You could read *War and Peace* in a remark like that.

I told him not to judge the Old Hands in a particular area too quickly. There might be a reason why things are the way they are. Weather reports and forecasts, on paper, are pretty cut and dried; if you have a certain set of numbers or better, you go; less than that, you might be able to do it IFR, or might have to turn it down altogether. Right? Well...yes and no.

There's a great passage in Jack London's great story, "To Build a Fire," where the Greenhorn in his first Yukon Winter is traveling alone on the trail in a cold snap...with the temperature at 75 degrees below zero. That's Fahrenheit. So cold that when he stops walking more than a minute, his feet begin to freeze inside his moccasins and socks. In the passage, London writes that the man was "without imagination;" that, to him, numbers like minus 75 F were just numbers to be calculated with, instead of indicators that provided a deeper meaning. I think a lot of New Men in HAA are like that.

To them, things like close T-D spreads after a day of rain, or the very real difference between day and night conditions, or how reported visibility is affected by "Light Rain," or intense but widely scattered Red Blobs inside a dashed magenta line are just cautionary indications to be the subject of contingency plans. Like London's ill-fated lone traveler, they don't appreciate how things have a way of turning on a dime out in the operating area, especially at night, or when it's cold, or when sky-monsters spitting cloven tongues of fire can materialize out of nowhere. How it's sometimes not really possible to "just land the helicopter!" How that fuel gauge can suddenly appear to be dropping like the second hand of an old-fashioned watch. How the associates you were chatting with over intercom five minutes ago can suddenly become people immediately concerned over their immediate survival, and be reduced to that level and that level alone. How it's possible for the most acute sensation in your own awareness can be a sharp, painful twinge somewhere down in your abdomen, or maybe the intense feeling of beads of sweat breaking out on your upper lip...

So to you New Men, after "Welcome Aboard," I'd also say this: Spend some of that spare time that comes with the Job thinking over why a lot of flights get turned down when that paper weather is at or above The Magic Number, and why you're the second or third outfit being called on to take the package from Point A to Point B. It might help you not to be too harsh on the Old Hands if you think about how they got to be Old Hands, instead of Front Page News.

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He Asked Me Why +19/-4 Walt Whittler 6/9/2019 9:14:35 PM