Happiness, flying and sex – more musings

On the way back from my flight today, a stray thought crossed my mind. Straight after landing and paperwork, I’d headed into the club house for the usual post-flight mug of tea. After a flight nothing quite hits the spot like a mug of tea…I couldn’t help wondering if this was the pilots’ equivalent of the post-coital cigarette. That got me wondering how much else flying has in common with sex….

But the aim was to start with happiness. What is the secret of happiness? And what is it anyway? is it a state of benign contentment?  I would suggest not, given that contentment can so quickly give way to boredom…but then surely true happiness can’t be a state of constant excitement either, that’s far too exhausting 😛

Maybe the answer is a balance of the two but that balance will no doubt be different for everyone.

I’ve heard about a study which concluded that the secret to happiness is a combination of fun, meaning and ‘flow’.  The author of the study was clear that none of these would work in isolation, they are all necessary. 

‘Meaning’ in this context included personal achievement, social activity and interaction with the wider community, as well as charitable, political and other worthy pursuits. ‘Flow’ is slightly harder to define, but primarily involves being in the moment – totally focused on the task at hand.

Flying, for me, covers all of these bases: it is most definitely fun, but also has a social element, either in terms of flying with someone or group fly-outs and the general cameraderie you find at any GA airfield. And flying itself, juggling the physical flying of the aeroplane with the radio and the navigation, definitely provides plenty of opportunity for ‘flow’.  There’s also plenty of opportunity for personal achievement, whether it’s ticking off a nav checkpoint on time, or making the smoothest of landings.

So, for me, flying is a key ingredient in the recipe for happiness. As is good sex. So what else do flying and sex have in common?  Here are just a few of the similarities I’ve noticed….

– of course, the adrenalin rush

– after a flight, the only thing I can think about for a while is the next flight…

– the pilots I know all have their own particular preferences and foibles, whether it’s the type of aeroplane or the type of flying

– some pilots are obsessed about flying, some enjoy it but can take it or leave it, and most people are somewhere in between…

– some pilots prefer to fly alone or with one particular co-pilot, others fly multi-crew 😉

– and it is very important to choose those people carefully

– some pilots like to stick with what’s predictable and safe, others prefer to seek out new experiences and take more risks

– and some of the best sex, as with some of the best flying, involves being totally in the moment with no intrusion from the mundanity of day to day life – although at times a chat and a giggle only enhance the experience

– and flying, like sex, is something a lot of people have strong feelings and opinions about

– oh and a great flight like great sex can make you feel invincible…

I’m going to stop now before the comparisons go slightly haywire, but I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you 🙂


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