Stood Down Thanks to Covid-19. Day Six. By Owen Zupp.

“All in this Together” Raft Training. 2014.

Day Six. Stood Down. Thanks to Covid-19.

We’re All in this Together.

For those of us with teenage daughters, the phrase, “we’re all in this together” will bring cold chills and memories of endless loops of the High School Musical movie. If that sentence makes no sense, then imagine an endless loop of Elsa singing “Let it Go” from the kids’ film, “Frozen”. However, in the current environment, sticking together as a community makes more sense than letting go. It was also a sentiment that echoed loudly today.
I rose early as the sinus infection had me sleeping in spits and spurts. My inbox was full of well-wishers reading this blog, from young pilots in the Middle East to senior aviators in the United States. All were sharing their stories and thankfully were enjoying my words online along the way. And as bleak as the industry may seem, not a single email reflected a doomsday attitude. All agreed that we will get through this – just the timeline is unknown.
As more and more borders are closed, more and more operators park their aircraft. Some fleets are nearby and ready to go, while others seem inevitably destined for the boneyard. Some ex-pat pilots are making their way home in case the walls go up, while others are set to ride it out in a foreign land. Some pilots will just hang up their boots, while bright-eyed beginners wonder what they’ve signed up for Didn’t the brochure say that there was a shortage?
Regardless of circumstances, for better or worse, there seems to be a common bond emerging that we tend to forget in the good times. Careers, ambitions and seniority numbers can get in the way of the fact that we got into this business for the same reason – we love to fly. For a number of us, a Cessna 310R getting airborne out of Kununurra still has some appeal after all of these years.
The most common question that I’m asked is “How long do you reckon?” Even in the best-case scenario, this ship will take some time and turning radius to get back in motion. We can only guess, but it won’t be very soon I would say. Domestic flying will be first most likely but international will be dependent on the rest of the world and nervous humans regaining their confidence.
As I answer the messages and answer the calls of family and friends, the cursor in the online form offering me options to apply for leave blinks at me. The leave is listed in days available and after that, the income stream from the airline ceases. Plans B, C and D will then come into effect – or will they. It’s the great unknown, but so are all frontiers. As a mate of mine says, breakthroughs come from breakdowns. It can be hard to stay positive but it’s the only viable option to keep our thoughts and plans clear and make life bearable to those around us.
Hang in there, keep positive and remember, “We’re All in this Together”.

Stay safe everyone and see you tomorrow.

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Boeing 747 - Aviation Icon and the Queen of the Skies.