By Ed Downs
Is there anyone reading this who cannot complete the title of this editorial? Sure, it goes, “just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get me.” Now, according to our friends at Wikipedia, the word paranoid, or paranoia, is defined in somewhat negative terms. It includes, “Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself.” Wow, that definition looks a lot like the guy looking back at me in the mirror every morning. But the fact that I continue to see that reflection is, perhaps, an indication the my “paranoid” behavior has served me well for an aviation career that has lasted well over half a century.
Early in my flying days I read a quote by Wilbur Wright that ended with the concept of “deliberately accepting risk.” Indeed, that is what we do in aviation. We exercise a metered level of paranoia and try to figure out what is out there, “conspiring” to get us. This could be weather, aircraft design, marginal skills, carelessness, overconfidence, human error and many other gremlins that can conspire to spoil your day.
Have I convinced you that “paranoid” can be a good thing? If so, you are invited to direct your “paranoia” to the future of ownership and private use of personal and business aircraft, an activity typically clumped together by the term “General Aviation,” or “GA.”