Already a member? Please login below for an enhanced experience. Not a member? Join today

'Curiosity' is not just a Mars Rover'Curiosity' is not just a Mars Rover

I admit I’m a wannabe astronaut. I grew up in the ‘60s reading science fiction and thinking that space would become my stomping ground. I remember watching Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the moon.

Now a bold and younger (than me) group of scientists have accomplished another extraordinary feet, landing a roving laboratory named Curiosity on Mars. Whether because of its simple yet imagination-provoking name or the magnitude of the technical accomplishments, coming at a time when we need more than a little success in our world, Curiosity has again evoked wonder in people for things outside their normal everyday world.

The word “curiosity” means inquisitiveness. As a business owner I am naturally inquisitive about things outside my everyday realm. Roving outside our narrowly defined flight training industry allows me to learn how other kinds of businesses operate, what struggles they have, or their strategies for success. By straying outside the world of flight training, I can compare and contrast my business operations, find new ideas, and maybe even learn a few tricks along the way.

For example, roving to the National Restaurant Association website I learned that September is National Food Safety Month and the theme this year is “Be safe, Don’t Cross-contaminate.” The association’s research showed that 96 percent of adults wanted to know the restaurants they visited trained employees in food safety. Eighty-one percent say they will be more likely to visit a restaurant that trains all of its employees, and 76 percent say they would be more confident in restaurants that displayed employee training certificates in public areas.�

The take-away: It won’t hurt to remind my customers that my employees and I are receiving ongoing safety training too! When we take FAA and Air Safety Institute courses, I will be sure to post our certificates in a public area. In fact, why not reserve a section of wall to post all of our customer’s safety seminar certificates too?

Then there’s the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (not to be confused with the Van’s RV aircraft groups). Here I found some great celebrity quotes about RVing. Drew Barrymore said, “It was one of the most fun, soul-fulfilling, entertaining, interesting experiences of my life!”Matthew McConaughey said, “There's nothing not to like about it. The freedom of being able to pull up, stop, power up, anywhere you want—beach or whatever. Set up and have your front yard different every single day. Whatever you want it to be, and to see the country that way—it’s awesome.”�

While my school does not have celebrities talking up the wonders of their flying experiences, I bet I can find more than a few customers with similar feelings toward flying who would provide quotes—why not post them on our Facebook page and website?

Then there were these revelations taken from the Entertainment Software (video game) Industry website.

  • The average age of the most frequent game purchaser is 35 years old.
  • Forty-seven percent of all game players are women. In fact, women over the age of 18 represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population (30 percent) than boys age 17 or younger (18 percent).
  • Researchers have found that video games have real potential as next-generation learning tools. More than just play, entertainment software helps impart knowledge, develop life skills, and reinforce positive habits in students of all ages.

This makes me wonder:

  • If we have time to play video games why not make time to fly?
  • If interactive video games are capable of improving learning, when will our industry develop them for aviation training?
  • If women are a significant portion of the game-playing population, why isn’t the flight training industry putting more marketing and advertising dollars into targeting them via the games they are playing?

The day-to-day running of a business can make us all a little myopic and road-weary, but exploring is exciting and you really never know what curious or amazing things you might discover. Be curious and never cease to wonder.

Dorothy Schick is the owner of the TakeWING Aviation Club in Creswell, Ore.

Related Articles