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According to the Chinese calendar, 2014 is the year of the Horse. I like horses. I think they are fine animals worthy of an entire year dedicated to their prowess. They have a year for pigs, for sheep, for rabbits and tigers, ox, rats, monkeys and even dragons (I happen to be the year of the cock … ), but now I believe it’s time to step it up! We should have a year of the pilot.
Let’s face it. By and large, the pilot group in our sport is largely overlooked. They are the guys behind the scenes who make the whole thing keep on spinning. They are the first ones to the DZ in the morning to preflight the plane, and the last ones without a beer in their hands as they tie the plane down after the sunset load. They are the ones with a scrub brush in their hands when it’s too windy, and on lots of DZs are probably the ones taking out the trash. I can’t even count how many times as a jumper I went to a new DZ or to a boogie, spent a great day or even week jumping my ass off, and never knew who my pilot or pilots were, let alone said thanks for the great or even not-so-great spots, and of course for not killing me. They are by and large passed over quite a bit of the time. Hell, even in the media you rarely hear about pilots, and if you do its usually bad. “32 people killed … and the pilot” Alas, always an afterthought.
There was a time though, very distant in my memory now, when I can recall a very different attitude toward flyboys. I remember reading stories of a time when pilots were looked up to—nay, almost revered—by not just those in aviation, but by the general public as well. A time when a pilot would walk down the street in uniform, turning every head as he passed, occasionally signing autographs and accepting kisses on the cheek from beautiful adoring women fawning over him. Sadly, those days are long gone.
In a recent meeting of my local pilot support group P.E.R.V, (Pilots for or against something or other … Make it up yourself, I just wanted to call the group P.E.R.V.), I sat listening to pilots’ stories of shame and ridicule. Stories of being belittled by instructors, students, attractive women and small children all because jumpers were forced to pull slightly higher to make the landing area. Tales of DZ dogs trained to attack if they tried to climb out of the aircraft before sunset for anything other than fuel. Hideous recountings of being forced to scrub DZ toilets and Porta Potties on weather days using nothing but the ear cups from their headsets, all while fun jumpers and staff drank beer and peed on the floor as soon as it was cleaned. I tell you now, watching a grown man crying, wiping his nose on his aviator jacket, RayBans steamed over, reduced to barely more than a big ball of goo is a sight no one should have to see.
This is why I now make a call to all of you. For all pilots big and small, make 2014 the year of the pilot! Get to know your pilot! Show him that you care, that you appreciate his efforts, that you know he (or she) exists! That they are HUMAN!
And for Christ’s sake ladies, it’s time to get the girls out! It’s a sad time that we live in where rarely is extra altitude given in appreciation of a great set of tits. Even worse is the new trend of asking for extra altitude on the promise of titties. Titties that sadly never ever come … Brutality at its worst. Yet I have a solution! I’ll make a deal with you ladies right here and now. In an effort to help bridge the divide, to smooth the way so to speak and get us back to the way it should be, I humbly offer my services. I will personally take on the daunting task of acting as liaison between you, the lovely women of our sport, and all the pilots who safely take you to altitude day after day, load after load. I understand that in our modern world, it’s not always acceptable to let the ladies fly while onboard. I realize that people could misinterpret taking the pilot behind the hangar for a quick glance at the jubblies, and that the bonfire isn’t always a good spot to bounce the girls around, so …
All you girls need to do to show appreciation AND get that extra altitude is to whip out that iPhone, turn that camera around, get a great shot of your lovelies and private message them directly to me at my Facebook page, thefuckinpilot. There, you can let me know what drop zone you are or will be jumping at, and even which pilot you wish to honor, and I will make it my personal responsibility to ensure that the pilot of each and every drop zone you list is given your gift of happiness, pleasure and sheer JOY with what you’ve proudly shared.
Regardless kids, now that we’ve decided that 2014 is the year of the pilot, take that extra minute to thank the pilot as he walks by at the end of the day. Give him or her a happy pat on the shoulder as you make your way toward the door. Have a beer in hand for them as they shut it down after last load. Let them know that you really do appreciate not only the training they have gone through to get where they are, but the care they take in trying their best to ensure you make it safely off the ground and to altitude, where your ass then becomes your own.
I, and all the other Fuckin’ Pilots I know, will love you for it!
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