Families of potential Courageous Fliers are sometimes concerned about whether their child will be up to taking a flight or participating in an activity on a given day. At a stressful and unpredictable time, they’re understandably reluctant to take on more commitments. But if anyone understands that some delays are unavoidable, it’s a pilot.
In aviation, patience and flexibility are a way of life. Safe flight demands an alert, clear-minded pilot, a mechanically sound aircraft, and favorable conditions that fit the pilot’s skill level. Whether the plane involved is a Boeing 777 or a Cessna 172, the word “thorough” must always describe a pilot’s preparation. Planning the route, conducting the preflight inspection, checking the weather…everything has to be ready, but even that doesn’t always guarantee a timely departure.
“Years ago,” recalls one Flight1 volunteer, “I worked for an airline that had a flight delayed in the Caribbean. It was a turboprop at a small island airport and the pilots had just started the engines. Some children were flying kites in a field nearby and when a string broke, one of the kites sailed over the fence and right into a spinning propeller. The flight couldn’t leave until mechanics could inspect the engine and make sure it was okay.”
Most of the time, it’s nothing that unique, and Courageous Fliers and their families have more than kites and weather to worry about. One had to reschedule her first flight when she came down with pneumonia and her second because of a broken leg. Each time, it was no problem to simply reschedule, and on the third try, she flew with a broken hand – a Courageous Flier if ever there was one.
In aviation, if something’s off, the smart pilot waits and goes when the time is right or cancels altogether. For Flight1 activities, we understand our Courageous Fliers may need to reschedule on short notice or may not wish to participate in every aspect of our program. Either way, we’ll do our best to make sure their experience is as worry-free as it can be.
– Russell Goutierez
Photo: Steven Fleenor