Had an interesting chat to a lucky young fellow the other day. He came from a wealthy family in the bush and his dad piloted a Cessna plane to let them cover the huge distances in the great Australian outback.
It came as no surprise that the youngster had learned to fly from the age of just six. Sitting on dad’s knee and taking hold of the controls and being a junior pilot. He couldn’t reach the pedals at that stage, but learned how to help with the steering and even make the plane climb and descend.
Which was great fun and he thought his dad was some sort of a god for owning and piloting his own plane. During our chat I got the feeling that dad wasn’t all that good at flying and had passed bad habits onto his son, resulting in some scary near misses the young pilot described.
The years passed and the young man advanced his dream by getting a pilot’s license and was able to fly solo, which he described as one of the best things in his life. Freedom, independence, the ability to get to interesting places in a short time, by himself or with a friend.
He told me he was keen to improve his flying ability – however, Australian aviation authorities had warned him about the dangers of learning more about flying.
They talked him out of trying to improve his plane control, or of getting lessons on how to take the correct action if something went unexpectedly wrong during a flight. Saying it wasn’t wise to know more about being a better pilot – because he would become over-confident and take risks.
The overriding message he got was that if he insisted on trying to be a better pilot, he would actually finish up being a worse pilot and more likely to crash.
Utterly ridiculous? Of course it is and I freely admit to having made up all of the above.
But substitute the word ‘driver’ for ‘pilot’ then read it again…
Scary isn’t it that kids are often taught to drive by their mums, dads and mates instead of professional instructors?
Even more worrying is the insistence by Australian authorities that learning anything more than basic car control makes them worse drivers, not better ones.
DEATHS IN AUSTRALIA 1958 – 2018
Road Crashes: 145,200 (Approx. as the figure is rising almost by the hour.)
Commercial Jetliner Crashes: 0