Dwindling Pilot Population – The Waning Interest

** This is part 2 of a 10 part series on the dwindling pilot population.

Prior in Series: The Series

When I was a young child in the late 70′s and early 80′s I started dreaming about flying. Of course at that time, it was difficult not to. There were so many cartoons and TV shows where the characters were flying.

For cartoons we had “The Transformers”, “MASK”, “G.I. Joe”, “The Jetsons”, and “Under Dog”. For movies we had “Superman” and “Star Wars”. For TV shows we had the flying car in “The Dukes of Hazzard”, as well as actual flight in “The A-Team”, “AirWolf”, and “The Greatest American Hero”.

As I grew up that influence lessoned since there just wasn’t as much flying on TV. Cartoons, movies, and TV shows all became much more planted on terra firma.

When I was in school, I became very interested in reading. There wasn’t much inspiration to be found there either. While there were plenty of books on just about any other topic, trying to find a book on flying was quite difficult. Even today, try searching your public library or your school library for books on flying. If you find even one, I will be quite impressed.

I think most children are naturally intrigued by flight. Most kids still at one time or another spread their arms and pretend to fly. Most kids still look up at the airplane flying overhead and wonder what it would be like to be flying up there.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much to help inspire kids to keep them interested in flying. As they grow up they are influenced less and less. Even toy airplanes are severely lacking. About the only airplane toys I see kids have these days are made by Lego’s. Those can be fun to build, but they aren’t exactly sturdy for playing with.

Almost every kid owns a remote control car at some point in their lives. How many do you know that own a remote control airplane? My guess is zero. Sure it takes more space to fly an RC airplane than drive an RC car, but even most cities still have parks.

To make matters worse, most parents crush their children’s’ dreams by telling them it is much too expensive to become a pilot. They make it sound like only the rich can fly, and since we are all average people, we are all destined to keep our feet on the ground.

My parents never crushed my dream of becoming a pilot. In fact it was my Dad going skydiving that put me squarely on the path to becoming a pilot.

How about you? Did you have anyone help you develop your dream into a reality? Do you agree that there isn’t much in print, on the radio, or on TV to inspire children to become pilots?

Next time we will look at some inspirational methods to help turn the tide.

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