Stood Down – A QANTAS Pilot’s Insight. Day Three.

QANTAS Stood Down

Day Three. (Click here for Day One’s post)

A “Red Letter Day”.

Yes, well it’s just one of those days in one of those weeks. One of my siblings started chemo and the other’s work has dried up in the US as they enter lockdown. And then the “Stand Down” letter arrived from QANTAS. Oh…and did I mention that your wonderful support of my blog spiked and shut down the website temporarily?
For the older of you that are fans of Bill Murray, this morning reminded me of a scene in the movie “Stripes”. He’s lost his job, his girlfriend and with a bleak outlook shoots a basketball at a ring set up in his apartment. It misses and goes straight through his window, to which Bill comments, “…and then depression set in”.
Personally, with the support of a wonderful family, I’m able to side-step the Black Dog, but I know there are folks out there in ALL trades and lines of work that are finding it tough right now. If you are, reach out to someone. I lost workmates to this curse when Ansett collapsed and undoubtedly a fair chunk of our population is in the grip of uncertainty and worry. You’re not alone – reach out.
My wife and I decided to round up our four kids and get away from things for a bit. We sat, spread out, in an open-air outside a café and had a coffee. Surrounded by distractions and family in brilliant sunshine, it was satisfying to relax rather than contemplate. To switch the mind off for just a while and think about what we have and what a great country we live in.
When the time came, I think we were all recharged to some extent. As it may well be a very long time before the QANTAS 747 ever takes to the skies again, I spent the next few hours alternating between reaching out to friends and colleagues and working on feature articles and manuscripts. I felt productive and the day continued to improve because of that.
A schoolmate that I hadn’t heard from in ages called – he actually thought Kirrily and I had escaped the stand down. Even though we hadn’t, we spoke for an hour and caught up on so many things – it was great. And then, on a Saturday no less, friends from my ambulance days and aviation circles responded to my emails and suggested possible plans for the days ahead.
From a stream of bad news during the day to a range of positive outcomes in the evening. I am both grateful and fortunate for the people I have in my life. Those that are close and those that may be separated by distance or the passage of time. They are all to be treasured.
If anything, I think it was the desire to keep moving forward. To contemplate the exciting variables that might lie ahead, no matter how unlikely – there’s a degree of excitement in that. And the ability to focus on a task, be that writing or mowing a lawn. I’m sure these things, along with exercise, all contribute to keeping ahead of the curve as our society looks to flatten that other one.
It may not have been a “Red Letter Day” in the truest sense of the word, but given the circumstances, it really wasn’t that bad. For those whose days are tougher, I feel for you and, as I said, reach out. There will be tough days ahead no doubt but I’m one of the lucky ones with good friends and family to see me through.

Stay safe everyone and click here for Day Four.

Click here to read, “Boeing 747 – Queen of the Skies. Reflections from the Flight Deck.”


Boeing 747 5th Pod Taking Off
(Image: Keith Anderson)