The Original Poster (OP), an avid aviation enthusiast, finds himself in turbulent waters after a seemingly benign invitation to his family takes a nosedive. The joy of sharing his passion for gliding becomes overshadowed by a sensitive confrontation with his cousin Naomi and her family about their fitness to fly. As accusations fly and relationships fray, OP grapples with the fallout.
The Passion for Sky
OP, a 27-year-old aviation mechanic, has loved everything related to flying airplanes since he was a little kid and watched Top Gun for the first time. He relishes the thrill of flying his sailplane during his leisure hours. On good days, he flies his plane for more than four hours at a time.
Thrill of the Flight
OP usually enjoys taking his sailplane up once or twice a week, weather permitting. The feeling of flying his plane above the world is unparalleled in his experience. The thrill is so encompassing he enjoys spreading the joy and taking others on rides when he can.
Sharing the Skies
While OP often prefers solo flights, he sometimes offers this unique experience to his fiancée, friends, and family. In recent weeks, favorable weather has allowed him to host hour-long flights for his close ones.
An Unexpected Arrival
OP invited his cousin and her children for their first flying session. The cousin was petite, and her children were elementary school age. He expected a pleasant ride, impressing the children. What he didn’t anticipate was a surprise.
The Other Cousin
Naomi, another cousin, and her family had been staying with the initially invited relatives and thus appeared at the airfield, too. He was unaware of the living situation at the time. There were delays with the construction of Naomi’s new house, and the lease on their rental had ended.
Having witnessed the exhilaration of the others, Naomi grew eager to experience it for herself and her twin 16-year-old daughters. As she expressed this interest, an uneasy feeling gripped OP. He was now confronted with a dilemma, as Naomi’s family was obese.
Honesty Above All
OP felt Naomi’s family might not be fit for a flight in his sailplane. Instead of sidestepping the issue, OP chose a direct approach. He pulled Naomi and her family aside, expressing his concerns about their safety and airworthiness, prioritizing their well-being.
The Necessary Check
To ensure maximum safety, OP insisted on performing a passenger check on Naomi and her family. Sadly, they didn’t meet the criteria due to their size, which posed potential risks in controlling the glider.
OP’s worst fears came true when he had to convey the disappointing news. The rudder pedal and stick movement would be restricted due to their size, making flying a hazard. Upon hearing this, Naomi and her family were deeply upset, feeling singled out and humiliated.
Instead of understanding OP’s perspective, they directed their anger toward him. He faced harsh criticisms, with some even going so far as to label him a bigot. OP felt the sting of rejection as Naomi and her family decided to cut ties with him, effectively “disowning” him.
At The Crossroads
Torn between his love for flying and his family, OP found himself in a tight spot. The incident weighed heavily on him, affecting his relationship with his extended family. Despite the adversity, OP maintained that safety was his paramount concern.
While it was painful, he believed he made the right decision. In a quest for understanding and possibly validation, OP shared his side of the story. He hoped for insights and opinions from others, wondering if he was truly in the wrong.
The Underlying Issue
What started as a simple invitation turned into a complex situation. The issue wasn’t just about flying; it was about perceptions, feelings, and relationships. Safety measures sometimes come with emotional costs.
A Silent Appeal
OP realized that ensuring safety could mean jeopardizing personal bonds. While he longed for clarity and reconciliation, he remained true to his convictions. He only wished his family could see the situation from his perspective.
Was The Man’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posted his story online for feedback and perspective from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “Restricting movement of the aircraft controls is a great way to crash. Pure safety concerns are a valid reason to say ‘no.’”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “Weight and balance are critical to an aircraft – there’s a reason they have a gross weight and useful load. Restricted movement for control surfaces is also unsafe. If you had flown and had an accident, you’d be dealing with the FAA.”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “You pulled them aside and explained your concerns. It’s not like you embarrassed them in front of everyone.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “It sounds like you handled it as tactfully as possible not to embarrass them. You provided valid reasoning for why they would be unable to fly. Also, you didn’t even invite them in the first place.”