How can I help you? – Carpe Díem
I watched a television series with my wife, and I realized that each episode began with the question, how can I help? As individuals and as agricultural pilots, each of us could ask ourselves the same question. When we started our Agricultural Pilot career, most of us did not have a concrete plan, or we did not have a mentor to guide us through the challenging process. We just had the drive and the love of flight. In the career of an Agricultural Pilot, four fundamental aspects come into play: economical, professional, ethical and reputational.
The role of Flight Instructors is to teach students how to fly and honesty. That is, tell the great things about being a pilot and its privileges. Tell the student that to work in aviation, they will have to go through a process that will demand many sacrifices from a personal to a financial perspective. Training for a Commercial Pilot Certificate costs a lot of money, and training as an Agricultural Pilot is even more difficult. Since there are few Agricultural Aviation Schools, each aspiring Agricultural Pilot must find a mentor willing to lend him his aircraft so that an Agricultural Instructor can train him.
How many airplane owners are willing to lend their plane for a stranger to get “experience”?
The Agricultural Pilot training process has three parts, the theoretical phase, the flight phase and the “professional training” phase. The latter is a learning continuum. Being a Professional does not only imply obtaining a Commercial Pilot License but being a professional means living as such, inside and outside of aviation. Act like the professional you want to become.
In this training phase, it is essential to have a mirror to look at yourself. Identify a professional who can be a reference if you want further advice and mentoring.
Human behavior expert Stephen Covey says that nothing impacts a man’s life more than “not engaging in DISHONESTY.”
Ethics is the fine line between building trust or losing it. When we are alone in the cockpit of an agricultural plane, nobody watches us except our conscience.
In Agricultural Aviation, credibility and trust are fundamental pillars. If I did not apply a herbicide well, if my product drifted to the neighbor’s field and I did not say anything, in a few days, I will get what young people today call “instant karma.”
Ethics and integrity in Agricultural Aviation (and in life) is “doing what I have to do, even if no one sees me” …
“No matter what you think and feel, they will judge you for your actions. For what you have done ”. Reputation is the professional cover letter of any pilot. We can all change and be better. Our reputation implies being good at what we do and helping others, and sowing the seed of agricultural aviation at any opportunity.
A year ago, I flew children from a home without a family in my city. It was the best time I have had in a long time. Whether there was a positive impact on their lives or not, only time will tell, and I may never find out.
Using Agricultural Aviation to help others, giving talks, and professional aerial demonstrations will impact our lives; it will be part of our best memories and personal achievements.
In this 2022, and every situation, in every Pilot that we see that his career begins, with our co-workers, our friends, and more than anything with our family, the question of the television series is very valid – how can I help you?
Martin da Costa Porto is an Uruguayan agricultural pilot and agricultural flight instructor. He has over 25 years and over 12,000 hours of agricultural flight experience and 3,000 hours of flight instruction.