Do you remember the first time you did something dangerous?
A few years back, I was given the opportunity to go skydiving with a close friend. This felt like one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that everyone seems to have on their bucket list. How could I refuse?
We were 90 days out and it was time to start learning some of the essential physics of falling with style. Before taking the jump, we decided to “practice” in a wind tunnel with an instructor nearby. I learned how to stay on my belly and use my hands to turn right and left, then either extend or retract my torso to create the proper amount of drag. Even something as small as turning my head proved to start my whole body spinning out of control if done incorrectly. Over the next 90 days, I logged about two full falling hours and earned the credits I needed to be in a wind tunnel without an instructor. I even learned how to do a few basic tricks for fun. The training wheels were off. As a reminder, I was only a few feet off the ground in this setting, and had a safety net below me, just in case.
Days before our jump, I learned that I was not qualified (by a long shot) to skydive unassisted, that it was too dangerous and that I needed many more hours to become licensed. Instead, I would be jumping with an instructor who had logged hundreds of falling hours both assisting others and alone. He knew what to look for and how to encourage me to enjoy myself, even in conflict. I consider myself lucky that I checked my ego and was still able to enjoy an amazing adventure of feeling weightless, watching the ground get closer and closer at an alarming rate. What a trip!
Obviously, the professional skydiving school that we went to wouldn’t have allowed me to jump unprepared, but what if they had?
Similar to many software and shop situations, most of us will have gone through a basic/intermediate training and will have learned skills of troubleshooting through practice and the experience of others. Taking practice jumps in a wind tunnel would be likened to coming into the office or shop every day and performing your basic routines. Maybe you have even been certified to work on specialized vehicles or programs. That being said, most of us will eventually run into a question or problem that we’ve never experienced (or only seen others do). Knowing it’s possible to solve is great, but knowing how to do it is a whole different situation.
In these situations, we have our instructors -- our trained experts -- to guide us through a hiccup and come out clean on the other side. How does the old saying go, “The best offense is a good defense,” or “Check your ego at the door”? I’ve heard another one that goes, “Most problems can be solved by going back to the beginning and not causing a problem.”
The easy answer for why we use a trained expert instead of trying to solve our own troubleshooting issues is simply -- so that we don’t make things worse. There’s always the possibility that we can solve our own issues, just like it’s possible that I could’ve jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and landed safely on the ground. But in the end, I’d prefer to have the instructor guide me down in style than find myself in a crisis with no way out. Use your resources, all of them, including our 5-star support team at RTA.
When you have a question or you need help navigating the RTA system, contact our Support team. We’re here to answer your calls and help you in any way we can.