Denis Lehane: Flying farmers can rescue Michael O’Leary

If there is one thing that drives me absolutely demented, it’s letting a good opportunity slip through your fingers, writes Denis Lehane.

I never pass up on a golden chance to improve my station in life, and neither should you.

In farming, we should always be keen to catch the bull by the horns.

So last week, when news reached my ears that Ryanair could be short a few pilots to do a spot of short haul flying, the ears perked up immediately.

I can tell you, the sleeves were rolled up, I am preparing for action.

With wet days forecasted for the foreseeable future, a bit of short haul, or even long haul, flying would suit me down to the ground.

Michael O’Leary himself declared only a few days ago that this flying malarkey was an easy class of a thing to perform, and I’ve no reason to doubt him.

It can’t be any harder, I imagine, than steering an old David Brown 995 (with no power steering, I might add), through a field of ruts and tracks and half-castrated bullocks, and you in search of an empty round feeder. With one round bale on the back, and another up in front, and you fearless behind the wheel.

Michael O’Leary

Now, my friend, that takes manoeuvring that precious few pilots could handle.

Landing a fancy plane on a cushy runway would be a piece of cake by comparison.

I dare say I could do it with my eyes closed. And would too, if enough money was put up in front of me.

A few levers and knobs is all there is to the cockpit, everything else is merely window dressing.

I’d land it alright, and I’d take off too, given half the chance.

O’Leary need look no further than the farming community, to find all the pilots he needs.

I could supply him with at least a dozen clean and sober would-be pilots in the morning.

With the silage season over, the country is positively awash with the greatest of potential pilots.

Fellows idling and keen to keep moving in some fashion.

We have more capable operators than we know what to do with right now.

Fellows experienced in driving tractors, diggers, Big M’s, silage harvesters, front-loaders and back-actors, fellows really who have driven everything but a plane.

As a matter of fact, speaking in a purely personal capacity, during the month of November, I will be taking a flight myself to the UK.

My first flight in almost 30 years. I will be heading to the UK to see the sights and soak in the atmosphere, and as luck would have it, I’m booked on a Ryanair flight to take me there and home again.

My missus did all the booking, she got the tickets for a song, but of course fellows might be saying there could be precious little to sing about, if I’m on one of them grounded planes,with no pilot to steer the ship.

Fear not, for today I’m making the bold offer to fly the plane myself.

I believe I can, or at the very least, I could give it a right good go, with a bit of instruction.

And I’d fly home again too, for I never like to only half do a thing.

So at least that’s one flight taken care of, with Captain Lehane ready and willing to take to the sky.

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