Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Over and Above

One of my first and most influential instructors/professors said once (or maybe ten times), "We're lazy pilots. A good pilot is a lazy pilot" ...or something along those lines.
Sure sounds like bad advice but he was referring to situational awareness and preparedness. As in, don't make it hard on yourself while you're already in the air trying to keep an altitude, anticipate so you won't have to rush and fumble things around and forget stuff...be lazy!

But this week I saw something completely opposite to just that.

I'd say at least over half of pilots out there stick to their flying duties. Preflight, flight, post-flight.
Now the actual duties for those three segments may change a bit here and there depending on the company and type of operations...but they stay relatively the same...within close proximity of actual flying related duties.
Now there are some companies, though, who are completely opposite and asks the pilot to do everything from cleaning the hangar floors to driving the client to their final destination after flight...I don't know if those are exactly what I would do in terms of going over and above but last Sunday I saw a great example of one.

The story:
A group of kids from Northern Ontario arranged for a Q400 to be chartered to go down to Toronto for the MMVAs where there would be a lot of celebrities and publicity. This group of kids are trying to send a message to save the polar bears...from being hunted. They made 600 shufflebot cardboard box heads to wear and bring down there with them. There were about 70 kids. The cardboard boxes are double meaning...they represent the polar bear heads as well as looking like the shufflebot heads from the LMFAO's music videos.

Now the pilots came in an hour before they are scheduled to depart again. The captain didn't really have any idea as to what they would be carrying on board with them but it was a charter. We mentioned about the boxes and initially he said that he wouldn't take a delay for a bunch of boxes.

But that quickly changed. We ended up loading most of the 600 boxes in the cargo compartment, trying to fit all of it as much as possible and the captain, first officer and flight attendants even helped taking some of the smaller ones to fit in the closet and overhead compartments.
Then after a while, the kids were ready to board but they wanted pictures to be taken in front of the plane with them wearing their props. They had a few adult chaperones with them.
It was pretty cool I took a picture.

Then this happened:
They asked the pilots if they could join them and...THEY DID.
And I will just let this video and picture say the rest.

I thought, this is by far the greatest flight crew I've seen here. Almost all of the pilots (from this airline) helps with quick grooming the airplanes on turn arounds but they went over and above in this one. The company's slogan is Flying Refined and they certainly showed that here.

This goes to show that despite of all the lazy pilots around, there are some that would go over and above (within tolerances) to satisfy their passengers beyond the mere safe operation of the aircraft. They are out there and I will make it my life long goal to be one of those.