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  From the Flight Deck
by Kevin R. Dingman
Lines in the Sand
Pandemic fatigue, airline furloughs, a 2021 mulligan
 We are all just peasants again:
Bake at home, avoid the plague, revolt.
 The past year has presented significant challenges to us all, with current events often feeling like the sword of Damocles hanging over our head. COVID
still haunts us; “peaceful protests” have caused many to consider the cost/benefits of city life; the world economy and politics feel as if they’re on a precipice; the airlines are in desperate trouble, and personally, I’m in the last year of my airline career.
Drawing a line in the sand is an expression used to de- scribe a decisional point beyond which you will proceed no further or a moment in which you reach a physical or mental inflection. It means to put a limit on what we will do or allow without incurring a consequence. In the United States, it’s a reference to the action of William Travis. While commanding the defenders of the Alamo and contemplating a demand for surrender, he drew a line in the sand and asked those willing to remain and defend the Alamo to their deaths to step across. Perhaps it’s time we drew a “line-in-the-sand”
22 • TWIN & TURBINE / December 2020
indicating our decision to take a mulligan and start afresh in 2021 (for non-golfers, I’ll explain mulligan in a bit).
Monsters and Threat Perception
The word monster conjures up figures from gothic horrors like Frankenstein, Dracula or The Swamp Creature – clas- sical images of exotic entities with no heads or grotesquely exaggerated features. Pilots also use it metaphorically: the engine failure monster, cabin fire monster, maintenance monster or the check ride monster. Our modern-day microbe monster, COVID-19, has wreaked havoc on not only aviation but all segments of society, conjuring both fear and fatigue.
Neuroscientist Dr. David Rock observed that during this pandemic, almost the entire world is reacting neurologi- cally to higher levels of threat perception than normal. We all share fear, a sense of a loss of control, anxiety, pain and frustration. Collective exhaustion – “pandemic fatigue” – has emerged as a formidable adversary. And authorities

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