Twenty-Twenty on 2020 from a 747 cargo pilot

December 15, 2020
747 cargo pilot
Christiaan van Heijst, a 747 cargo pilot reflects on the most unpredictable year in modern history.
“Just over two weeks to go and one of the most unpredictable years in recent history comes to an end.
“The twenty-first century promised to be full of technological breakthroughs, prosperity, and a generally bright outlook for the future. What could possibly go wrong? Well… it took just one weird virus to put all of this back in perspective and into the confinement of our homes.
“Within a fortnight, the rules have changed of a game we didn’t know we were playing. Natural social interactions minimized, businesses collapsing and basic human needs suppressed.
“It is an understatement to say that the world has been altered for good and I can only hope that we will get back some of the old times again. Hugging parents, planning vacations or celebrations. Living life.
“At the same time, I have seen the unpredictable and destructive character of this virus close at hand and I realize it is not something to underestimate. Some dear people close to me, taken away in the prime of their lives within days, while others barely had a cough. Horrifyingly random.
“I consider myself extremely privileged to fly freight these days; one of the few sectors in aviation that’s still going strong and proving to be a lifeline between countries. Even though 2020 was a turbulent ride for every single person on this planet, I can definitely say it opened my eyes to a lot of things in life.
“Reevaluating my morals, values, and expectations. Following my path of purpose through life with confidence and determination is both a blessing and a curse.
“I’ve been working in the background on the foundation of my ambitions during the last few years. Fueled by a long-term vision and dedication, 2021 will see some major steps forward with a promise of more to come. One step at a time.
“Anyway, that’s all for now. Just one more trip to go and I’m off for the holidays, though they will be very sober this year I’m afraid. But let’s end this on a positive note. Stay healthy, go with the flow, and keep looking forward; everything is going to be fine.”
Christiaan, a 747 cargo pilot, is also one of the world’s leading aviation photographers and more of his work and more close encounter (s) can be found here. You can follow Christiaan on Instagram here: @jpcvanheijst