Those wishing to get into arguments with sexually frustrated people they’ve never met, can enjoy the many pleasures of online aviation forums. Here you can enjoy the thrill of illiterate nationalism, faked insider knowledge and the tiresome raw data-sharing of people who, to put it kindly, could be described as ‘left-brain dominant’.
It’s good to share your interests. Though when you talk to people merely because of a shared interest you are opening the floodgates to some pretty interesting specimens.*
Here are some of the archetypes to watch out for in the sweaty corners of the internet infected with aviation forums. Award yourself 5 points for each one you encounter:
Articulate, big-hearted and avuncular, this is the best kind of animal you can encounter on an aviation forum; he simply wants to chat and to share his interests. This lonely voice of maturity can be found trying to quell the petty disputes of adolescences and lonely drunk men in over-heated hotel rooms.
The real pilot/navigator/groundcrew
The real pilot is often informal, relaxed and uninterested in pissing contests (in this context anyway!). He’ll frequently refer to the group he was in (No. 54 Sqn in the 1970s, Qantas in the 1980s etc). The use of jargon feels right and the emphasis is often on aerodynamics and the unreliability of systems rather the ‘catalogue talk’ of those educated by the PR departments of Lockheed Martin and Sukhoi etc.
Rather like the BFG collecting dreams in jars, the DC hoards data. Aircraft registrations, serial numbers, crash dates. To say it’s pointless would be unfair (which hobby isn’t?), but it does seem rather abstract. Variations on this theme, include the ‘Horribly bitter data-collator’ the ‘Gentle librarian data-collator’ and the ‘Christ-he’s-so-boring-I-want-to-pull-my-eyes-out-one-by-one data-collator’.
Mad nonsense from guys who allegedly flew ‘Foxbat’s from Irish aircraft carriers in the 1950s. Well, at least they are showing some creativity.
The bully expert
Gosh this guy knows his onions, but he also could do with growing some fucking humility. Watch him beat down feckless individuals who have the cheek not to have been born with ten copies of Jane’s nailed to their heads. Having said that, this guy will give you the odd scoop and some interesting and often well-expressed views.
The ranting nationalist
This is the worst. To this character, the particular aeroplane type he loves symbolises his nation and their superiority as well as his own sense of self-worth. If the aircraft type he loves is criticised he will descend into either an ill-informed one-sided defence of his aircraft or else racism disguised as opinions about planes (sometimes this is just bare-faced racism).
‘Can anyone help me… I’m writing a book on the sex-lives of Fairey Gannet pilots in the mid-1960s?’.