President’s Corner

Knowledge plus skill plus passion equals art
What kind of pilot are you? Do you fly ultralights, or an experimental home built, or a high performance single or multi? It is fairly certain that what you fly is a clue to what kind of personal challenge or objective you might desire in yourself and from flight. From such extremes as the cross country business traveler to the ultralight pilot that prefers to fly no higher than the tree tops, we are all different. As different as we may be, the answer to the question “Why do you fly?” is the same across the board. Those answers include the following: Freedom, Peaceful, Solitude, when I fly my mind is clear of all other thought, challenging, and for many it is even spiritual. There are few things in life that can provide so much to offer in so many ways. No matter what type of flying you enjoy we all share the same emotions for and from flight, but unlike other activities in life, becoming a good pilot requires a good amount of study and practice. It is not just given it is earned.

Knowledge: No matter what level of flying we do, there is a knowledge component associated with it. For some it could be only a few months and for others it requires a lifetime of study and practice. Furthermore, the knowledge element is never complete.

Skill: Skill is not given. It seems that there are some that might seem born to fly like the late Bob Hoover, but even Hoover had to start somewhere. He, like all of us, developed skill from a lifetime of practice through repetition. Or, as Luther Burbank put it, “it is repetition, repetition, repetition that habituates the skill.” If we are to become a skillful pilot, it will require an acceptance that we will never know it all, However, we will always strive for it.

Passion: Outsiders might believe that such a long term commitment to become a good pilot as too much work. But, when the passion we feel is mixed with the benefits we receive from flying, the thought of work does not enter our mind. Our passion drives our actions and what otherwise might feel as hard work becomes a joyful path of discovery. That discovery is not just an attainment of knowledge but it is equally a personal discovery of ones self through discovering our own limits. Karate master Masutatsu Oyama said, “One becomes a beginner after one thousand
days of training and an expert after ten thousand days of practice.”

Art: The art of flying I believe is mostly a personal definition. If we pursue our personal limits with the blend of passion skill and knowledge we will be on the path of the “ten thousand days of practice” and that is a form of personal artful expression. Through the blending of all of the above we discover that flying can be raised to a level of Art and that also gives us an artful way of living.

Ron Wright
President EAA
Chapter 1541