American Valor Quarterly Issue 3 - Summer 2008 - Page 9

Much of today’s aircraft complexity is the result of mechanization, The Work Ethic electrification and automation in order to permit the equipment to accomplish its function and still take as many functions away I’m afraid most of us in America have had it too good for too from the overloaded pilot as possible. long. We’ve gotten soft. On the average, we’re not as courageous or ambitious or hard-working as our ancestors. Of course, there When an airplane takes a pilot where he’s going and brings him are many people today who are willing to dare, who will work, back, and does it repeatedly, he develops a certain attachment for who have integrity. But a high percentage are suffering from what it. And when that airplane does that over a long period of time, a friend of mine calls “the ravages of prosperity.” it can have some very basic faults, but that pilot no longer sees them. He becomes a part of the airplane. There is one thing that worries me about today’s philosophical outlook. There is a tendency to feel that we don’t need to work You come to think of airplanes as forgiving and unforgiving. A hard but can rely on society to take care of us. This is opposite of forgiving airplane is one which corrects a fault if you make it. An what a dynamic society must have. unforgiving airplane is one that amplifies a fault. The Lessons of History When I went into aviation in 1917, my interest in the technical end was minimal and my interest in flying was predominant. I don’t Man, as a tool-making animal, has been on the earth at least a know whether the change in outlook has been in the times or in million years. But it’s only been in the last 5,000 years that he has me. But I am sure at this time I would be interested in piloting as shown any sense of obligation, any concern for anyone but himself. a means to understanding the tool a little better. My great interest The Great Teacher only appeared on earth 2,000 years ago to would be in improving the tool