By: Ciara Majkowski and Lauren Olson
Making its way onto our list of Top 5 Aviation Podcasts, JETPUBS gives three cheers for EAA’s The Green Dot podcast. With its debut episode launching earlier this spring, the Green Dot has already featured interviews with some of the industry’s major influencers. Today, we recap one of our favorite episodes spotlighting astronaut Walter Cunningham.
Aviation-Focused from an Early Age
Broadcasted live during this year’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Cunningham shares his adventures transitioning between air and space. Cunningham was mesmerized by aviation films filled with fighter pilots from a young age. After completing his initial training in the Navy, then moving into the Marine Corps, Cunningham went on to fly single-engine fighter planes. As a retired Colonel, he recommends that everyone spend time in the military because of the mental preparation and life skills he gained. After his time in the Marine Corps, which Cunningham deems one of the most significant an influential times in his life, he made the transition from air to space.
Cunningham teamed up with the first crew of four for the Apollo mission. After moving to the backup crew for the Apollo One, Cunningham was called to join the first manned Apollo mission after the Apollo One crew perished in a pad fire. His mission lasted eleven days, and Cunningham marks it as “the longest, most ambitious, most successful first test flight of any new flying machine ever.”
Wisdom for Future Aviators
During the question and answer portion of the podcast, Cunningham answered the question, “Do you have any ideas for us to inspire young kids to do the hard things?” Reflecting on the cultural shifts since he himself was a young boy, Cunningham shared that his generation was more willing to tackle whatever was out there. In today’s culture, many individuals are risk adverse, and, on the contrary, he believes younger individuals need to be willing to take responsibility for themselves and make things happen rather than counting on others to do things for them. Cunningham reminded us that while there is always equal opportunity, there are not always equal outcomes, and that doing whatever is necessary to get ahead can separate those who win from those who lose.
Beginning his first job of delivering papers on a bike at age nine, Cunningham saw this as his own way of getting ahead. He says he has no regrets about joining the work force at a young age, and he said his parents never had to have a discussion with him about working. Cunningham shared that this attitude has changed so much over time, especially now that many young individuals are not expected to begin working until they are 25 or 30. He believes in teaching children that the opportunity is owed to them, not necessarily the outcome. The outcome completely depends on them.
Do you have a favorite aviation podcast? Feel free to share it with us in the comments below.