Thursday, 19 September 2013

'Dad I want a job like yours where I don't have to work for a living.'

Some years ago my son looked up with his usual grin and said in all seriousness, 'When I'm older Dad I want a job like yours, you know, where I don't have to work for a living!'

I guess one is apt to groan at the work word but equally if for whatever reason there is no work the groan then penetrates the very heart but I guess the term paid employment & no choice perhaps have something to do with our general dislike of the word.

I think I can safely say I have the best work/job/employment in the world, after all they give me a working aircraft  and a tank of fuel and say go do something useful - actually those are my words.  Apart from when I have to fulfil the occasional paperwork requirement from a ground based office somewhere or other - now that is work, I have loved doing/living it for the last 21 years. 
Generally I have a paper free office, though the old joke about aircraft can only fly when the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the aircraft still exists. My offices have been able to look after between 3-12 passengers, cruise at between 100-150kts and at various times been able to operate on land and sea and all with one engine.  
There have been times when I have groaned at the occasional 0400 wake-up call from the alarm in Chad, the prospect of fitting what looks like a 1000kg of freight into a space built for only a smidgen over 500, the fitful nights sleep in the tropical heat whilst camped out in the back of my 208, the shiver of cold water trickling down my back on the cool rainy season pre-flight in Uganda and my helplessness sometimes in the face of hopelessness.

The mobility of my office is second to none!
But when the truth is told, this is work as it was meant to be, a delight.  Ah you see there is nothing quite like an early morning departure, the smells and sounds of the African dawn still lingering in ones memory as the airfield boundary slips away behind you; a bumpy approach in a stiff cross-wind, ones dancing on the rudder pedals caressing 4 tonnes of slippery Alumium and people into a shortish rough dirt strip on a wet day in Karamoja; or the delight at seeing missionary youngster (MK) throwing his arms around his mum's neck when he's returned home from boarding school. Umm.... memories, so many.

Sometimes 3hrs into a long flight the desire for leg stretch become almost over whelming; equally 4hrs on, on a day full of very unhappy weather with another 7hrs more to be added to it, you think being somewhere else might be nice. But as the days events roll on, you realise where else do you get a chance to give a gift of a blessing to your passengers, put a reasuring hand on a medi-vac patient before departure or spend an hour, a day, a night, with some amazing people, doing some incredible stuff in some unbelievably remote places?
Perhaps it is only when your work takes you to to some sad sad places, you realise how privileged you are, doing something you want to do, are called to do, can do, then do do and do with a passion.

I was amazed to see there are over 50 jobs going around the world in Mission Aviation Fellowship. I cannot believe we have so many gaps for numerous managers of all types, about 5 accountants - there cannot possibly be a shortage of accountants can there, suspect we would consume all the engineers (aircraft) we could find, and as for christian avionics engineers they are almost almost as rare as a few grains of Astatine!

My bonus is I get to then talk about my work to pilots, rotarians, school children, non MAF people, MAF supporters, actually any one who asks me and anyone who will listen!

Also on Face Book and just about on twitter!

 ...the life of a bush pilot the last great truly civilised job in the world!


  1. I really enjoyed reading that last blog :)

  2. Another great post Bryan, Your comment on working in sad places struck a chord.