What was I Thinking?

July 16, 2014 by Bruce Landsberg

LostMyJobToday1“I know what I was feeling, but what was I thinking” should be the mantra of any of us who’ve done something aeronautically that may have seemed like a good idea at the time but perhaps not so much in retrospect. Country music fans will immediately recognize a Dierks Bentley signature song. Had the privilege of meeting Dierks last week while visiting Cirrus Design, located in Duluth, Minnesota, where a friend describes upper Midwest weather as “Nine months of anticipation followed by three months of disappointment.” However, on this one day the weather was spectacular and so was the mood.

Cirrus delivered several aircraft this week and Dierks delivered two concerts: one for the folks in downtown D and a gratis hangar mini-concert for Cirrus employees and customers. He is the embodiment of what we need in GA—a hardworking, unassuming guy who’s very good at what he does. Anyone who thinks a musician’s gig is easy should try it. (I played in college and decided that the world would be far better off if I took up flying—that choice might be debated, as well.)

Dierks’ schedule has him on the road every weekend until sometime in December. With children and a wife, this creates problems unless there’s access to one of our time machines. He’s a most enthusiastic proponent of GA and uses the aircraft to commute home every week. Unless traveling from the 30 biggest airports, schedule will be at the airlines’ convenience. If the dominoes start to fall due to weather or the usual hub-and-spoke issues, you’d better factor in a lot of flex/delay. This is not to imply that GA is delay free, but my absolute worst scheduling snafus have been on common carriers—sometimes extending into days. That hasn’t happened flying myself—yet. The Cirrus transports Dierks with a high degree of reliability, and he’s even infected a couple of band members with aviation fever.

Dierks played two songs that resonate GA safety. We often ask after an accident, “What was the pilot thinking?” The lyrics of the first song, “What was I Thinkin’,” aren’t slanted toward aviation but rather a sweet young lady’s shotgun-toting daddy. Bad outcomes abound whether it’s VFR into IMC or the business end of a shotgun.

The second song, “Drunk on a Plane,” also has obvious nasty implications if you’re PIC. But, if seated in Row 7 A and getting over a personal problem—maybe that’s different.

Here’s to Cirrus and Dierks for bringing some extra spirit to GA. Spread the word!

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

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