Some experiences stick with us forever
WHAT IS LIFE IF IT’S not experiences, especially the meaningful
and memorable ones? I don’t remember who won the World
Series two years ago, but I remember my third-grade teacher.
She laughed a lot, and it was fun being in her classroom. And I
remember, when I was about 10 years old, an airline captain of
a DC- 3 putting his hand on my shoulder and asking, “How ya
doin’, son?” I remember, as a kid, a military pilot lifting me up and
putting me on the wing of his T- 33, then pointing to the cockpit
and saying, “Take a look.” None of the above is what you’d call an
“earth-shattering” moment, but special moments are indelibly
etched into our brains, and they’re a part of who we are. And flying
gives us a lot of special moments.
Sure, special moments can come from a lot of experiences: the
birth of a child, climbing a mountain, hitting a home run at the
Fourth of July picnic. But here’s the difference: You can have special
moments every day in aviation. Every flight is special in its own way.
Where else can you see such powerful vistas and put the Earth into
such a manageable perspective as you can from an airplane? I’m not
talking about looking out an airliner window (unless it’s the two
forward-most seats in the airplane); I’m talking about seeing the
world from your airplane, be it rented or owned. In your airplane
you can turn and float and fly and twist and sightsee to your heart’s
content. Most all the vistas you see can’t really be seen any other
way. They are what they are to you—spectacular—and serve to make
you who you are: a pilot, and proud of it.
A Super Cub on freshly mowed grass. A
complete sentence isn’t even needed: A pilot
immediately forms a picture in his or her
mind and smiles an understanding smile. I
love that about aviation. It’s why Oshkosh
is such a “pilot’s candy store.” You are
surrounded by almost the entire spectrum
of beauty and passion that aviation has to
offer. And it has a lot to offer.
Some aviation moments stick with you
Being between layers at sunset and
seeing dark clouds ablaze in a pink glow—
magic, awe, wonder, and beauty all at once.
Being between layers at night, no
lights visible from above or below. Pitch
black. Dark like you’ve never seen before.
Your only link to life is the hum of your
airplane and the lazy movement of the
instruments before you. You become one
with the machine.
Flying over the Canadian Rockies. They
are rugged, desolate, beautiful, and even from
35,000 feet go as far as you can see. Lest there
be any doubt: Nature rules the day.