Why so Many Flying Geeks?

I doubt most pilots I personally know would appreciate being called geeks.. but really… that’s what they are. Don’t misunderstand.. it’s not meant to be a negative label.. just an honest one. Another blog I read called Undefined Value is by a programmer and student pilot down in Atlanta. He recently had this to say about why there are so many techies in aviation:

Underlying it all is a fundamental trust in technology and our ability to master it. It doesn’t scare or mystify us. Unlike a lot of airline passengers, we don’t just cross our fingers and hope somebody sprinkled enough fairy dust on the wings to keep them levitating in the air. We study the machines, we learn how they work, we test their capabilities, and we have the confidence that if something goes wrong, we’ll figure out how to handle it.

I think that’s a pretty good description of what it takes to be a pilot these days. Even if you are not considered a geek in your life away from aviation.. you almost have to be when it comes to flying.. if you are serious and safe about it. You have to know the planes you fly inside and out.. aerodynamics… the engine.. the avionics.. fuel and power systems… you have to know how everything works.. and how those pieces can fail.. and how to deal with those failures. Lots of people have an active dis-interest in knowing how things work… their computer.. their car.. whatever it is… and I would say those people would not make safe pilots… it’s just the wrong outlook.