Thursday, April 16, 2015

Are You a Battered Housewife of Aviation?

Being a passionate observer of aviation, every day I see missed opportunities.  Endless possibilities for promoting our sport are born every day and each day they are ignored.  Even worse, often they are skewered by the aviator masses.  What’s the cause?  The battered wives of aviation.
The indicators, signs, and symptoms of battered housewives are so well documented they’ve become cliché.  And although more and more often the term is more appropriately titled “battered spouses,” I use the female brand of abuse as it is more easily imagined by most.  Picture the wife of an abusive alcoholic – do you have an image in your head?
How does she live her life?  What kind of treatment can she expect when her husband is home?  How does she react to the abuse?  What happens if she does something he doesn’t like?  How do her friends react to the bruises?  Think about that for a minute.
If you’ve ever known anyone who lived the hell of abuse, you probably have a better idea of what it’s really like.   But, as I said earlier, what you see portrayed in movies is exactly what many people experience.  No matter what race, sex, or religion, the abused and abuser play consistent roles.
The abused feels isolated, depressed and as though they are without options.  This makes them search for ways to make it work with what they have.  Add to that the ever present spousal version of Stockholm syndrome and you have a disaster in the making; a bruised spouse who, in order to pacify an abusive partner, will attack the people who wish to help.  If the giver of abuse is appeased, maybe the target won’t get another beating. Boiled down, it is a life lived in defense with no option of offense imagined.
The mind is incredible.  It is also easily programmed.  Sadly though, most are unable to recognize the programming.   Therefore, day after day, intelligent people can do the most ridiculous things without ever stopping to consider how silly those actions may be.  As long as nobody tells them their actions are wrong, or the crowd never shows disapproval, they assume their actions are logical and continue their actions according to the carbon based binary bits.
So how does this apply to aviation?  It’s really quite simple; you, yes you (almost surely), are an abused housewife of aviation.  Want to know for sure if you are?  There are questions you can ask yourself to find out. Below are a few of them.
An experimental plane has a mechanical failure and crashes into a house thus killing a child.  You learn from friends that the builder used some home-cooked powerplant.  On TV you hear the media repeating that the crash was an experimental plane which was not built to industry standards?
***Do you immediately start to think of all the ways the media or FAA is going to make hay out of this accident and in turn you begin to criticize the builder or show your unhappiness with him for causing aviation a black eye?
A pilot modifies his UNLIMITED racer and during the course of the race something on the plane fails thus sending it into the crowd, killing many spectators.
***Do you immediately wonder if that is the end of your sport, go on media lockdown, and feel anger toward the pilot for causing your sport such damage?
General Aviation:
An eccentric lands his gyrocopter on the laws of the Capitol.
***Do you discuss the incident on facebook by expressing how this guy has most surely caused your sport an injury?  You also cringe or feel almost physically ill because you know you are going to have to live through two weeks of uneducated media attacks on your sport and the possibility of new FAA restrictions?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these, you are a battered wife of aviation.
It’s true; you have been programmed with mental anguish.  Don’t feel bad.  People exist who have spent their entire lives learning to manipulate society and the human mind.  And as I said earlier, that encoding of the brain is far easier than most realize.  This means that you have, through small but never ending jabs, learned to see aviators as the problem - the people who keep upsetting your media or FAA husband (spouse).  Think about that.  That’s why abuse is so bad.  It’s evil.  It makes you believe your friends are the source of pain in your life and that your enemies are the giver of mercy.
Live as part of the aviation community for long enough and you’ll begin to feel it.  The mindless drunken attacks sparked by the tiniest of things will drive you mad.   Next you start to avoid them in any way possible.  Before long you’re willing to do anything to ease the pain.  That’s when you start looking for the early warning signs in hopes of stopping the attacks before they begin or dialing back the severity of the attacks.  When you see a potential trigger, you immediately go into damage control.  You might even begin to openly admit to the blame for the beating.  “Yes, it was me; I’m sorry; Don’t beat me,” becomes a way of life.  Over time you even begin to believe it; you become programmed.  That’s what the media and FAA have done to you. 
Before I go any further, I have to point out that just like their human counterparts, the media and FAA may not have purposely set out to do this to you.  The attacks directed at you are typically nothing more than symptoms of a sickness they have.  The media, a generalized name for people who will exploit and repeat anything to sell advertising, likely do not go home and plot ways to destroy aviation.  Aviation stories merely play well to audiences so they get used to their full advantage.
Likewise, employees of the FAA most likely do not go home and sit around dreaming of ways to destroy aviation.  Instead, they are ill with the disease of government and job security.  The agency has come to judge itself by what it prevents, not what it enables.  Therefore, in order to get funding, it must continue to find new things to prevent and the ways to prevent them.  Over time, this has driven the agency to become one of the few places on earth where you can find people who actually believe they can make a cadaver more dead.
But, we must also consider that members of these groups are vulnerable to programming.  After years of pressure from their bosses to increase ratings, or violate x number of people over a given amount of time, they too can begin to view some people (you) as the root of all the stress in their lives.  This in turn breeds within them a subconscious agenda of removing you from their environment.  So yes, some of them do see you as the enemy. 
Ultimately, today we are experiencing a never ending onslaught of beat-downs by the media and FAA.  The scars are so common they’re often open wounds when the next one arrives.  The pain and mental anguish is almost unbearable.  Before long, like Pavlov’s Dog, every time you hear of a plane crash or silly aviation stunt, you react.  Unfortunately, it’s the wrong way.
Life, the kind that is free and lived without fear, has risks.  And yet, even life that is caged can still catch illness and die.  Live free and die; live caged and die.   Hmmm, is that really a tough choice?
When you attack one of your own to appease those who work against you, you are being that abused person of cliché.  Eating your own does nothing but give credence to the reasons of those issuing abuse.  It is a de facto acceptance of guilt when none should be felt.
Instead, when a plane with an experimental engine crashes, it should be seen as an opportunity to point out that only when you are dead can nothing go wrong; a thriving country never accepts fear or caution as something to be cherished; a world without risk has nothing to offer.
When the story of the crash of a race plane flashes across the screen, that is not time to attack air racing.  No self-respecting community would propose to cut off its own head for living the very life for which it was created.  Although rarely considered as an option, it is actually a perfect but admittedly difficult time to point out that UNLIMITED means just that and that it is time for the world to accept that accidents do, have, and will continue to happen.  If not, then it’s not UNLIMITED.  Come to a race, accept the risk.
When a gyrocopter lands on the lawn of the capitol, the overly passionate guy in the seat should not be the target of your misplaced anger.  Instead, there is no better opportunity to display the fact that airspace restrictions around sites like DC do not, nor will they ever, prohibit anyone but law abiding citizens from living the fullest and freest life possible.
Accepting abuse is wrong. To attack your own is worse.  Thes examples above, and all others, should instead be committed to memory and considered every time a high profile aviation incident occurs.  They should then always be used as your reason for going on the offense and leaving that life of defense behind.   Fear enslaves the free.  Don’t be a victim; be a champion.  

1 comment:

TOGWTCO said...

Best article of yours that I have read. I have a few things to say myself, but do not have the writing skills.

Seperately: I learned to fly at Bowman in the sixties. One day I took a Super Cub to 12K feet and could easily see the curvature of the earth. Some years later, forget it. What's it like now?

Phil Hertel
Astoria, Oregon