Mastering the Joy of Flight

09/10/2012

There is something mystical about aviation. I love the window seat and find myself staring at the landscape miles below on every trip. There is so much beauty to take in, and sometimes it’s just as awe-inspiring as being grounded but randomly spotting an old World War II-era bomber slowly making its way across the sky.

The last big trip allowed me to experience the sight of so, so much – things like the Olympic stadium and Big Ben clock tower in London, colorful French farms, icebergs, Canadian glaciers, and a giant fault line in California.

 

Aerial View of London - Big Ben and The Eye Ferris Wheel

Aerial View of Big Ben and the London Eye

 

While crossing the Atlantic, I eventually napped when there was nothing to see but “the pond.” When I woke, peered out and saw an iceberg field, I started snapping pictures. The passengers behind me must’ve liked all my scenic discoveries because, whenever I pointed my camera out the window, I would hear their window shade open and start to hear whispers.

 

glacier confluence / flow - aerial view

Glacial Confluence – Canada

 

Just like with music, the love for aviation is also in my DNA. Dad took me to airshows for probably 15 years straight, and he still goes when it doesn’t conflict with work and it’s not too blazingly hot and humid. Also, my brother flies and my uncle previously owned a plane. The same goes for some of my in-laws. Also, I can’t ignore that the Wright Brothers lived about 25 miles from where I grew up in Ohio – “the birthplace of aviation,” as the license plates say.

Back in Middletown, Ohio, I used to spend my college summers at hangar parties. “Don’t mind the airplane in there… the fridge is back there behind it. Feel free to grab a beer!” Some late-night chats were interrupted by the sound of a taxiing jet. A lot of us would go out and watch those take off and fly away until the flashing navigation lights disappeared into the darkness.

I actually worked at the Middletown airport – then known as Hook Field – over spring break in high school. I mowed grass and ran the weed-eater around all the lights down the 6,100′ runway. Some nights I got to hand-wash a corporate jet. It was a serene, yet kind of spooky experience, being alone in a giant, creaky, empty hangar. At the same time, the job was a soothing, therapeutic one, buffing dried raindrops off the plane from nose to tail and cleaning hydraulic fluid and dust off the landing gear.

For all these fond and endearing memories, I have been kicking around the idea of making an aviation documentary. I won’t get into details right now because, well, you know, it’s a proprietary-type thing. But I can see a community-based project like that as being a great asset for the historical record. That sort of goes back to my Long-term Data Storage post, about how it’s best to keep multiple copies of your documents stashed in various places so the information doesn’t eventually disappear forever. There’s no telling how many old photos are out there, tucked away in someone’s attic, that might not mean anything to some descendant who one day discovers them.

In the meantime, I will continue to plug away and see if the project is something that might have some interest other than my own. Fingers crossed!

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