In the past few weeks and in the weeks to come many of us have felt the need to connect and share our stories through the COVID-19 crisis and our hopes and challenges for the coming months and years. As have so many people around the world, we have discovered the benefit of online video meetings and Zoom has been a great tool for that.
On 15th June 40 chaplains mainly from Europe but also from the US, Australia and Kenya shared in a 2 hours online meeting. In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis which dramatically affects the aviation industry and the airports in which we serve, the aims of this meeting organized by airport chaplains in Europe was to support each other, share about our hopes and challenges as well as evaluate the need for closer networks in particular for chaplains who don’t meet regularly.
This time of isolation is favorable to reflection and many thinkers around the globe are trying to define the future and share their hopes for the post-Covid-19 world. The environment and new economics paradigms seem to be the main concerns and motivation for many. The aviation industry has been strongly shaken and will take time to recover. But it certainly will.
Catherine Maunoury, twice World Champion in Aerobatics, President of the Aéro-Club de France and lecturer, shares with us the communicative enthusiasm of pioneers, a spirit she believes we are in need of to face our future. “Sixty years only between Louis Blériot’s achievement over the Channel and three accomplishments occurring in 1969: the first flight of a Concorde aircraft; the first flight of a Boeing 747; and the first person to step on the moon! Barely born, aviation was already flying at Olympic velocity: ever faster, ever higher, ever further. […] But a virus abruptly brought our headlong drive to a grinding halt—and possibly our dreams as well. […] From now on, we will never be able to claim again that it is impossible to stop the reigning economy in its tracks, nor its bulimia, nor its insanity. […] Since its inception, aviation has carried the values that we will once again need to confront and shape our future.’’
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
The author of this quote, which seems so well suited to our times, is none other than Richard Bach, the “father” of Jonathan Livingstone Seagull. Aaah… Jonathan! Able to perform 32 vertical hesitation rolls followed by a few snap rolls! The obvious illustration springing to mind as we are rooted to the ground! When will we be able to fly the azure road once again? Was it only yesterday, or was it over a century ago? At the turn of the twentieth century, crowds converged to Rheims or Brescia eager to discover Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines fulfilling one of the most astounding and age-old dreams of humankind: flying! Thanks to science, thanks to technology, thanks to the genius and audacity of a few, humans owned a sky now just within reach.