Performed at Oshkosh Airventure 2016.
F-16 pilot - Craig "Rocket" Baker
P-51 pilot - Valado Lenoch.

"Just a pilot....."

One of the trusted.

You are at cruising altitude. The western sun is just a pink disc. Your eyes flick to the guages. The engines are Contented. Another day, another dollar.

You look down at your hands on the wheel. They are veined and hard and brown. Tonite you notice they look a little old, and, by george, they are old.

But how can this be? Only yesterday you were in flying school. Time is a thief! You have been robbed, and what have you got to show for it? A pilot. forty years a pilot. A senior pilot. But what of it? Still just a pilot.

The voice of the flight attendant breaks in on your reverie. The flight is running full. Can they begin serving dinner to the passengers? The passengers, oh yes, the passengers. You noticed the line of them coming aboard; the businessmen, the young mothers with their children in tow, the old couples, the two priests, the four dogfaces. A thousand times you have watched them file aboard, and a thousand times disembark. They always seem a little happier after the landing than before the take-off. Beyond doubt, they are always somewhat apprehensive aloft. But why do they keep coming up here in the dark sky despite their fears? You have often wondered about that. You look down at your hands again and suddenly it comes to you. They come because they trust you, you, the pilot. They turn over their lives and their loved ones and their hopes and their dreams to you for safekeeping. To be a pilot means to be one of the trusted. They pray in the storm that you are skillful and strong and wise. To be a pilot is to hold life in your hands, to be worthy of faith.

No, you have not been robbed. You aren't, ".. just a pilot." There is no such thing as just a pilot! Your job is a trust. The years have been a trust, and you have been one of the trusted. Who could be more?

Author - unknown