One of the Trusted


New Member
by Gill Rob Wilson


You are at cruising altitude.
The westering sun in pink on the disc.
Your eye flicks the gauges. The engines are contented.
Another day - another dollar.

You look down at your hands on the wheel.
They are veined and hard and brown.
Tonight you notice they look a little old.
And, by George, they are old. But how can this be?
Only yesterday you were in flying school.
Time is a thief. You have been robbed.
And what do you have to show for it?
A pilot - twenty years a pilot - a senior pilot.
But what of it - just a pilot.
Then the voice of the stewardess breaks in on your reverie.
The trip is running full - eighty-four passengers
Can she begin to serve dinner to the passengers?
The passengers - oh yes, the passengers.
You noticed the line of them coming aboard -
the businessmen, the young mothers
with the children in tow, the old couple,
the two priests, the four dogfaces.

A thousand times you have watched them
file aboard and a thousand times disembark.
They always seem a little gayer after the landing
than before the take-off. Beyond doubt
they are always somewhat apprehensive aloft.
But why do they continuously come up here
in the dark sky despite their apprehension?
You have often wondered about that.
You look down at your hands again
and suddenly it comes to you.

They come because they trust you -
you the pilot. They turn over their lives
and their loved ones and their hopes and dreams
to you for safekeeping.
To be a pilot means to be one of the trusted.
They pray in the storm
that you are skillful and strong and wise.
To be a pilot is to hold life in your hands -
to be worthy of faith.

No, you have not been robbed.
You aren't "just a pilot." There is no such thing
as "just a pilot." Your job is a trust.
The years have been a trust.
You have been one of the trusted.
Who could be more?
you had me going for a split second. I thought the doom and gloom was coming. This is one I will file away for those times when then "why do I do this" thoughts creep into the mind. It will shake the thoughts quickly.

good article/clip.
Gill Robb Wilson

Nice, Dave.

In case anyone is wondering who Gill Robb Wilson was, he was one of the most prolific aviation poets of the 20th century. Everyone knows John Gillespie Magee Jr's High Flight, but Lt Magee was pretty much a one-hit wonder; Wilson wrote hundreds of poems like the one Davetheflyer posted. In the dawn before the United States was thrust into WWII, Wilson and a few like-minded aviators founded the Civil Air Patrol, whose top professional development award is named in his honor. He also founded the National Aeronautics Association and held AOPA membership number 1.

Another Gill Robb Wilson classic:


The boundary lamps were yellow blurs
Against the winter night
And I had checked the last ship in
And snapped the office light,
And paused a while to let the ghosts
Of bygone days and men
Roam down the skies of auld lang syne
As one will now and then ...
When fancy set me company
A red checked lad to stand
With questions gleaming in his eyes,
A model in his hand.

He may have been your boy or mine,
I could not clearly see,
But there was no mistaking how
His eyes were questing me
For answers which all sons must have
Who builds their toys in play
But pow'r them in valiant dreams
And fly them far away;
So down I sat with him beside
There in the dim lit shed
And with the ghost of better men
To check on me, I said:

"I cannot tell you, sonny boy,
The future of this art,
But one thing I can show you, lad,
An old time pilot's heart;
And you may judge what flight may give
Or hold in store for you
By knowing how true pilots feel
About the work they do;
And only he who dedicates
His life to some ideal
Becomes as one with he dreams
His future will reveal

Not one of whose wings are dust
Would call his bargain in,
Not one of us would welsh his part
To save his bloomin' skin,
Not one would wish to walk again
Unless allowed to throw
His heart into the thing he loved
And go as he would go:
Not one would change for gold or pow'r
Nor fun nor love nor fame
The part he played and price he paid
In making the good game.

And of the living ... none, not one
Regrets the scars he bears,
The sheer uncertainty of plans,
The poverty he shares,
Remitted price for one mistake
That checks a bright career,
The shattered hopes, the scant rewards,
The future never clear:
And of the living ... none, not one
Who truly loves the sky
Would trade a hundred earth bound hours
For one that he could fly.

If that sleek model in your hand
Which you have brought to me
Most represents the thing you love,
The thing you want to be,
Then you will fill your curly head
With knowledge, fact and lore,
For there is no short cut which leads
To aviation's door;
And only those whose zeal is proved
By patient toil and will
Shall ever have a part to play
Or have a place to fill."

And suddenly the lad was gone
On wings I could not hear,
But from afar off came his voice
In studied tones and clear,
A prophet's message simply told
For this is what he said
And why his hand will someday lead
Formations overhead,
"Who wants to fly has got to know:
Now two times two is four:
I've got to learn the first things first!"
... I closed the hangar door.