Aviation Spark Plug Resistance
as sporting. I lifted off and pointed the nose
skyward, but the ground wasn’t really getting any farther away. We weren’t even getting 200 feet a minute, even though I was at
the best rate of climb speed. But all the other
indications were normal. We must be in a
downdraft. The wind was tumbling down
off the ridgelines to the left, and we couldn’t
turn away from it because of the ridgeline to
our right. But at least we had a positive rate
of climb. The tower called.
“Niner-four-uniform, turn right on
course.” I looked at the ridgeline looming
“Unable,” I answered. There was a pause.
“What are your intentions?”
“I thought I’d try to get enough altitude
to clear the ridge, first,” I answered dryly.
biplane trip he took with his first wife, Bette.
Titled “The Girl From a Long Time Ago,”
it told of Bach’s amazement at discovering
sides of his wife he never dreamed existed
as they made their way through mishaps,
windfalls, and moments both challenging
and breathtaking while flying halfway across
America and back. The process of discovery
was so wonderful that Bach actually mourn-
ed the end of the trip where, he said, his wife
would “walk back again into ... a routine
world that did not ask her to see with bright
eyes, or look down on mountains, or to fight
Indeed. Just as we learn all kinds of un-
expected things about ourselves when we
take on the unpredictable world of travel
or adventure, we also discover things about
;;500 - 3000 Ω = New - Good
;;500 - 5000 Ω = Used - Good
;;5000 Ω & Up = No Good - Hard Starting
- Misfire - Poor Combustion - Pollution
The truth is, the moments we remember most ... are almost
always the ones that surprise us.
of spark plug.
“Jeez,” Connor said. “In Rapid City, we
couldn’t get down. Here, we can’t get up.”
“Welcome to the fun world of light air-
plane flying,” I replied.
Truth to tell, I hadn’t planned, or expected, to expose Connor to quite so much of
the aviation experience spectrum when I offered to fly with him across the continent. Of
course, no trip, and certainly no adventure,
goes completely according to plan. But to my
way of thinking, that’s what makes traveling
so worthwhile—and not just because deviations from plan tend to be where the greatest
learning happens, either.
The truth is, the moments we remember
most—the ones we still laugh hardest about,
years later, as well as the ones that take our
breath away—are almost always the ones that
surprise us. The view or sunset planned for us
by a well-organized tour guide that occurs as
promised, on schedule, is never as memorable as one we happen upon so unexpectedly
that we yell, “Stop the car! Oh my god, you
have to see this!” And that goes for people, as
well as places.
Richard Bach once wrote a story about a
our traveling companions that we never
would in the routine tasks of daily life. We
also get new perspectives on the world itself,
because we get to see it through someone
else’s eyes. It’s one of the reasons any kind of
journey, but a flying journey in particular, is
so powerful, memorable, and fun.