Every new year brings contemplations, convolutions and resolutions, most of which are held dear for a week or two and then thrown out with that final bit of holiday trash.
Nowadays, when there is considerable cost involved just getting to the airport, folks often ask me how we survive financially as a flying family.
She was small with flaming red hair, but I had no doubt her backbone was reinforced with stainless steel. We sat at a conference table, the Old Man beside me looking grave and concerned, as appropriate for the situation. I, on the other hand, squirmed with guilt and no doubt my discomfort was apparent on my face.
A friend of mine once told me that he didn’t read most flying magazines because they were full of gloom and doom. Airplanes crashing and pilots doing stupid things were not high on his agenda for enlightening reading. Where, he wondered, were the stories of pilots who did the right things? Of those successful forced landings or those good experiences of aircraft ownership? Where are the happy stories?
Standing in front of our hangar, I can see the whole world — or at least my little portion of it. As late afternoon gives way to early evening, it is a good place to be. The March sun is bold, portending the summer yet to come. But instead of wearying heat, her warmth is gentle and caressing. The southerly wind flows across my body awakening genes gone dormant and whispers in her sultry voice that spring has arrived.
I like fly-ins. The anticipation and the excitement of the journey are nearly as tantalizing as the event itself, especially the first fly-in of the season.
I’m not certain how it happened, but aviation-wise the first of the year has become a very busy time for us. This year, annuals, medicals and insurance renewals all fall in the first quarter, and this pilot/owner-operator is rather overwhelmed with paperwork, appointments and the need to juggle the household cash flow to meet all these needs.
Death is a natural process. While hard for some to accept, it is the inevitability that every living thing must face. Death can take many forms. Quick and sudden or long and lingering, for some it is a tragic force to be denied and cursed. For others, it is a blessed, quiet journey into that good night. Whether tragic or blessed, for one to face death, one must first experience life. It is the paradox of all living things.
I’ve experienced and learned a few things since I earned my PPL, especially during the time I’ve owned my Luscombe. One of the most important is that I know that I will continue to learn as long as I continue to fly. The winds are ever changing and each landing is new and unique. Complacency and fatigue are a tailwheel pilot’s worst enemies. I battle the former by practice and approaching each flight with the same attention to detail. I battle the latter by recognizing and accepting my own limitations.
The other day, I was sitting in my dirty truck patiently waiting in the pick-up line at Clayton Elementary School when I heard a rooster crow. Loudly. My first thought was that I had finally lost it. When the rooster crowed again, a tingling of a suspicion emerged. My next thought was, “”This is not good.””