Birds and Business

As some of you already know, I am really interested in aviation. I have been flying airplanes now for a little over 10 years. Since my airplane only weighs 588 pounds, I have often wondered how this little airplane would fare if I ever hit a bird. I guess it would depend on the size of the bird and how it impacts the plane. Of course, I hope I never find out. Besides being a safety threat, I want to show them some respect; they were there first.

Nowhere in my flight training was I taught this, but I have noticed something over the years. Eagles, hawks, and other raptors always seem to be looking around them as they are flying. They keep moving their heads up, down, right and left. They seem to have a great handle on their situational awareness at all times. Also in the close encounters I have had with them, they always tend to dive to avoid a collision. I guess they probably dive because it’s easier to get away from me than to climb; it would take too much time and energy to safely get away. To improve our odds of missing each other, I have conditioned myself to react by pulling back on the stick. This only makes sense since I have excess energy (speed and engine power) to make the maneuver and they do not.


Waterfowl are another story. Geese, ducks, cranes, etc. all seem to fly while being completely clueless of their surroundings. They never look around them. They seem to stare at the bird in front of them. It is like they trust the leader without question. It’s like the blind leading the blind. Subsequently I am always on the lookout for waterfowl because I know they are not looking out for me. The only saving grace is that they travel in numbers and are easier to see from a distance.

It might be an oversimplification, but I think people fall into similar categories. It always amazes me how many people walk around clueless about their surroundings. Their situational awareness is zero. Don’t believe me? Just go to Disney World or any other major theme park, mall, or restaurant, and watch the people walk by. Half the crowd would walk into a 20-foot deep flaming pit without ever realizing it until they hit the bottom. I’ll bet these same people go about their work days in much the same manner.

How many business opportunities do you miss everyday by not looking around you and staying observant? One major aspect of creativity is looking at the same thing everyone else is looking at but seeing something different.

So use all your power to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to dive once in a while, and remember: “Soar like an eagle, not a duck”.

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