Friday, April 29, 2005

Building Time

People often ask me if I'm 'building time.' It's their way of saying, "You seem to work incredibly hard at a lousy job, there must be some purpose to this." Or maybe they've just heard the expression and think it might apply, because they also ask me if I have "gone solo," which clearly indicates that they haven't a clue what that means. My family waits for me to become a "real" commercial pilot and seem to reassure themsleves that I am now building time in order to fly "commercial" airplanes. Every airplane I fly is commercially registered.

I rarely think of a job as 'building time'. I don't think I have spent one minute flying an airplane while thinking "I'm building time." I fly airplanes to fly airplanes. I apply for other jobs, but not for their time building attributes. I'm trying for the opportunity to fly bigger, faster, more complex airplanes, and make more money doing it.

Am I building time? Yes, ma'am, I am accumulating flight time in my logbook, but that is only a side effect of what I am primarily doing: providing you with a safe and enjoyable flight. And when they ask me solicitously if I might like to be a "commercial pilot" one day, I tell them I used to be one, but I have since upgraded my commercial pilot licence to an airline transport one. That usually confuses them into silence long enough for me to get a taxi clearance.


Lord Hutton said...

One day you'll get a "proper job" and you wont get that question anymore.

sweavo said...

People used to ask me why I was growing a beard. I was nonplussed. The beard grew itself.

david said...

I contribute to Wikipedia, and have constantly bashed my head against the colloquial use of "commercial" to mean "scheduled airline transport" -- people wanted to classify airports as "commercial" or "private", for example, until I convinced them that a cropduster flying from a 1,500 ft grass strip is a commercial operation, and that nearly every public airport is commercial (in the sense that it tries to get some kind of revenue). They have also tried to use "commercial" as the opposite of "general aviation" (oops).