AOPA article: The Art of Airmanship

This is an interesting article: The Art of Airmanship, from AOPA’s Flight Training magazine (Aug 2006). A nice read, but I do have some comments. Like why oh why is the word Art at the start of the title but never mentioned in the article!

The author states “Airmanship used to be about basic stick and rudder skills.” I disagree. The earliest use of the word (7th of July, 1859 in the New York Times) mentions resource management, and the basic FAA definition includes “exercise of sound judgment.”

The article claims:

In the end, airmanship really is about pride-pride in learning as much as you can about the history and pioneers of aviation, developing your knowledge and skills to the best of your ability, honing your command qualities, and fully accepting the duties and responsibilities that come with exercising the privileges of your certificate.

Good stuff. But not right. It isn’t really about pride. Pride is a complex secondary emotion. It has positive attributes, but it’s also one of Christianity’s seven deadly sins. One opposite of pride can be humility. You can still do a lot of great airmanship and be humble. Pride may be a product of the work, but it is the doing itself that is airmanship, not how you feel about it.

Overall I think the article uses airmanship as a device to talk about some good ideas, but it doesn’t really pierce the heart of the matter.

What do you think?

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