When aviation is a vehicle for good, those underpublicized moments should be heralded. Below is a great story about the flight of a company’s plane to take the families of the three American heroes to be with their sons. It bears repeating because so much of the commentary about airplanes in the media is far from positive.
The negativity can be found in some of the thoughts of the pioneers of flying—the Wright Brothers and Lindbergh.
The Wright Brothers thought that their invention “would make further wars practically impossible.” Unfortunately, they were witness to the World War I aerial combat demonstrating that their vehicle’s preemptive potential was not as powerful as its destructive capacity. Lindbergh also rued the potential that the aircraft to do wrong, particularly as to the environment and in war. However, if one reflects on the totality of their work and their written words, these three quintessential aviators were advocates of the affirmative contributions of their vocations.
A second theme of attack is from the environmentalists both the Green Party/ associated organizations and NIMBY proponents. This is not the forum to engage in a detailed debate about the merits of their position. The point is that these effective proponents of one side of the argument get a lot of air time.
Here’s the GOOD NEWS. A pilot, who flies for Columbia Sportswear, recognized the potential for good that the company’s twin-jet Dassault Falcon 2000 might do. He saw that the families of Anthony Sadler, 23, Oregon Army National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, 22, and U.S. Air Force airman Spencer Stone, 23, should travel to Paris to be with their heroes. These three men tackled and disarmed Ayoub El Khazzani, after he injured four people on a train leaving Amsterdam.
Columbia pilot Doug Perrill called his boss, Tim Boyle and asked, “Would we be willing to fly them in our plane to Paris?” The CEO of the company quickly answered, “Yeah, we’d be happy to do that.” Perrill knew that, in addition to his normal fastidious preparation for the flight, there were a lot of details (passports and landing permission) which needed to be accomplished in a short time; with help from the State Department. The airlift had east bound and westbound legs—taking the Moms to Paris and bringing them back with their boys.
That story emphasizes the positive, selfless contributions which aviation can and does make. It is important that such glad tidings should be repeated to help create a balance public opinion about what we do.
Wonderful foot note to the story (and an implicit statement of the truly eleemosynary element of this action):
“When asked, Boyle said he did not think to present any of the women with Columbia gear before their departure, though he added, ‘one of the mothers brought her Columbia vest and said that she wears it every day.’”
Good job Columbia, Mr. & Mrs. Boyle, Mr. Perrill and aviation.