Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lady Pilot - so what airline do you fly for?

You are a pilot?! Wow that's so cool. So what airline do you fly for?

This is most often the reaction I get, and question I get when I tell people I am a pilot. The shock is most often because I am a women, and second question is because people do not understand how aviation and a flying career works in North America.

I understand the shock. I get excited every time I see a women dressed as a pilot in the terminal, and I actually have had women pilots on my last two flights with Pacific Coastal and Westjet Encore so the times are changing. I also currently work for a company that only has women pilots. I think that's pretty rad. But still we make 3-10% of the "Commercial" flight pool, and averaging more around 5% worldwide. It's small and it doesn't make sense to me because anyone with good spatial awareness, decision making skills, and an interest should be able to dedicate themselves to learning to fly a plane. Yes it's expensive, and it's hard, and you need to be able to deal with all sorts of situations that our male counterparts don't have to worry about but it makes you an even stronger person in the long run. But I am head strong, independent and have never been one to shy away from a challenge and have a passion for aviation.

You need that nugget that hooks you and makes you want to continue with your studies because it really never ends. There is constant training, refreshing, and on the job learning. It's a life long commitment and complacency is a dangerous flirtation you don't want to have happen in this kind of work.

Being a commercial pilot doesn't necessarily mean you have to fly for an airline, and not flying for an airline does not make you less of a commercial pilot. We all get the mandatory 200 hour training in Canada and then opt for extra training on a multi engine aircraft, and instrument ratings so we can fly in no visibility situations, or some opt just to do helicopter or float ratings depending on where your passion lies.

The route to the airlines in Canada often means flying smaller planes for many years before qualifying to fly the larger planes. In Europe and Asia this isn't the case anymore with cadet programs, pilots can go right from the 200+ hours into a bigger jetliner carrying hundreds of passengers. We are already seeing how this system doesn't work with accidents like Asiana in San francisco, and Germanwings but that's a whole other topic.

Some may argue you are just a computer button pusher as you fly the larger more automated airplanes and there is a definite high component of this at the airline level, yet there is a cultural attraction that this is the ultimate job in the career of piloting. Yes a big plane is sexy, don't get me wrong especially when it's taking to me to an exotic destination. Landing on in the simulator (the closest I've gotten) is an amazing feeling. But just being in the air is amazing. There are so many different types of airplanes you can fly, from being a balloon operator in Cappadocia Turkey, to and short haul cargo pilot for UPS, to a private jet operator for companies, to fire suppression in helicopters, to float planes in the Maldives. These are all jobs that make you a commercial pilot and are equally rewarding as a commercial pilot. As many people don't opt for a career in the airlines it doesn't mean they aren't a good pilot, or any less of a pilot. But I understand that so many people only know about the airline as a career because that is the one that is the media and the one that we interact with the most in the global age of travel.

But maybe next time you meet a pilot you can ask them what kind of a plane they fly because now you know a little more about the basics.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The failure of dealing with Mental Illness in Canada

I really have compassion for anyone that is dealing with mental illness with their friends or family. Whether it be addictions, the effects of never dealing with issues from childhood that now manifest because you never taken action to heal, or glitches in the wiring of your brain that make you not you anymore. Dementia diagnoses have gone through the roof, and we don't have a safe or compassionate spaces for these people like a country like Denmark provides.

Our system in British Columbia is failing us. There is no shared information so someone can go to their GP, walk in clinics, different ER's, have massive surgeries, and actually none of these care professionals are even talking to each other. I now realize how some addicts can just go from doctor to doctor getting prescription meds for pain and no one will ever know. Our government is trying to crack down on this problem but ultimately our system is set up to fail, plus if an addict wants drugs they should be able to get them, failing to deal with the deeper issues of addiction is where our country needs to continually open their eyes too. I see this lack of a connected over all database system a serious problem and I am not the one that is sick. I may get sick from the stress from having to deal this system.

Why does our carecard number not carry all our visits, prescriptions filled, and diagnoses?  As I see the population aging and my own parents aging, every single visit information has to be repeated. If you forget something (or if you can't even remember because you have lost your cognitive skills), you could be treated for something totally unrelated. Doctors and nurses spend SO much of their time right now not treating the actual problem because of this (Average 25% of ER visits are mental health related). $40 billion annually right now is going into dealing with mental health. A universal system that talks to each other should be started ASAP, and I don't even care if it has no back history, it can start now with the information we give on our next visits. It is that important. I know some people are scared of privacy, but when it comes to your health nothing is private, it's a priority.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Ganesha - The Remover of Obstacles

Ganesha is Lord of new beginnings in that he clears paths. Ganesha consciousness binds all fragmentations....he binds people & beings together to form an integrated whole community. He is the force behind cooperation, collaboration and cohesion. Ganesha melts barriers by interweaving pure sweetness in our moment-to-moment experiences. He is also the strength & fierceness we call upon to cross new thresholds and gain new perspective. Ganesha is everywhere in Bali. There isn't a home without a statute of him. When you see what he represents it makes sense that you would want him in your home. May 2015 bring all the things that Ganesha represents into your life!