LAURAN PAINE JR.
Flying over the ocean, two hours at Mach 0.85 cruise, and you’ve
seen nothing but water. That’s perspective. If more people had it, we all
might be a little more humble.
Looking down at the countryside of Vietnam in the ’60s and seeing
bomb craters everywhere. We are an imperfect species.
Being scared spitless in an airplane and suddenly appreciating life
very, very, very much.
Leaping into the air for the first time in an airplane built by your
own hand. That experience has significance beyond words, and
EAAers can relate.
Landing at LAX at night and seeing the runway lights right at
minimums through thick fog. Now that’s beauty.
Experiencing days of nothing but cold, calm, clear blue everywhere
and your airplane’s purring like a contented cat. Days like that make
you feel good all over.
Looking over and seeing your passenger with his or her face pressed
to the window and smiling. That’s called “sharing special moments.”
Skimming flat cloud tops in smooth air and a fast airplane.
Watching the Earth float by from between the wings of a Stearman.
Without aviation, I’d have none of these moments—it’s that simple.
And it’s why I have a hard time understanding not flying. I know
you’ve all had special aviation moments, too. Enjoy them, savor them,
share them. It’s who we are and what we do.
Lauran Paine Jr., EAA 582274, is a retired military pilot and retired airline pilot. He built
and flies an RV- 8 and has owned a Stearman and a Champ. Learn more about Lauran at
his website, www.ThunderBumper.com.
MIX AND MATCH
Okay, here’s a test for you: Match the snapshots with the captions; yeah,
just snapshots. They’re not professional, with consideration for light and
background and such. They were just taken for “the moment.” I’m quite
confident you’ll know which caption goes with each photo.
Refueling at dusk
On the wings of a homebuilt
Formation with patriots
Descending for home