The hands-on skills of bush pilots are intriguing – very little automation, just the basics delivered manually. So what, you may ask, is a bush pilot?
They typically fly small aircraft into remote, rough terrain where there are often no prepared landing strips nor paved runways. When I go on safaris in Tanzania we land in the middle of the Serengeti plains – it takes a bush pilot to do that. A trip to a small island like Bequia also requires a bush pilot to battle the winds and expertly land the plane on a very short runway…not much bigger than a postage stamp!
I learn valuable lessons watching bush pilots:
- The manual parts of life take a lot of good old-fashioned muscle power. You use physical maneuvers that you forget about if you have spent too much time in auto – pushing a button isn’t an option when there aren’t any buttons.
- Staying keenly aware of one’s environment is a critical survival skill. The wind and the rain are factors contributing to success or failure. You learn how to cooperate with the forces over which you have no control.
- If the computer fails, there goes your work materials and ability to move forward. Ensuring that you have both manual and automated tools in your toolbox will allow you to stop and go at will when life’s inevitable crashes occur.
- Learn to think with your heart. Information isn’t thought – it’s information. Again, a button can’t solve all your problems. Learn to feel your way to and through your next move.
At one of our island stops, the co-pilot got out and with another person pushed the plane closer to the fuel pump. He pushed the plane! When we were ‘speeding’ down the runway to take off, it took both pilots’ hands on whatever that lever was to help lift us into the air.
What manual efforts do you focus on to fuel your plane, or get it into the air? Too often we want everything to drop in our laps because we’ve lost the drive to muscle up and get the work done. Manually access what’s already within you, initiate your powers of choice and decision and then just do it.
There are many things a machine simply can’t do.
Bush pilots remind us not to lose touch with our innate abilities to weather the storm. They show us how to be directly involved with our own success.
Happy New Year!