The Baltic Aviation Academy has just put into words something I have always wondered idly about but never examined: why is there such a huge number of aviation enthusiasts around the world, but relatively few of them even try to get a private pilots' licence?
Flying as a paid career is not the only way to become an aviator.
Here is Baltic's puzzled observation about aviation enthusiasts: "These people can spend hours talking about various aircraft engine types or cockpit differences, observing and discussing detailed aircraft pictures and expressing their fascination with people who have had an opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a pilot.
"It is truly puzzling how people who have accumulated so much aviation knowledge refrain from integrating themselves directly into the world of aviation.
Here's Baltic's pitch: "One of the easiest steps towards getting to know this feeling is the PPL course. You can officially call yourself a pilot after just 6-12 months of training. Throughout the PPL studies the candidate gains all the knowledge and practical skills necessary to operate a single-engine, single-pilot aircraft."
Back in 1969 I paid (with difficulty) for my own PPL course, night rating and IMC rating at Booker (aka Wycombe Air Park) in Buckinghamshire, UK. This was before I was accepted for training by the RAF, and I did it mainly because I wanted to, and I knew I might not be good enough for professional selection.
Cockpit familiarisation at Baltic
Ever since then I have retained an immense fondness for "amateur" general aviation and club flying.
Light aviating is the real thing. It's what the Wright Brothers did. It's what Biggles did. It's about mastering a new element, a third dimension, the skill of navigating a windy sky without road-signs. It is liberating and inspirational.
Don't just stand there at the end of the runway with your camera: go and fly a real aeroplane, like the young woman in Baltic's photograph.