Thought for the Day: Planes as ‘transportation,’

“If you tell people outside of aviation that “a plane can take you a lot of places”, they most often think of it as some sort of alternative form of a car. What is far harder to explain to them is how a plane is the ideal vehicle to travel to a different state, not a different geographical one, but a different mental state.

I have tried telling people how you can go flying for the last 30 minutes of the day, stare at the sky in awe, and feel the distinct division between you and the plane fading. As the sun sinks, you can quietly come down the sliding board and roll out on the grass and come to a halt.  I can do this fluidly and gently roll into my front yard. This always gives me the very powerful feeling I have just been somewhere else.

The timer on the dash may record the exact number of minutes aloft, but it seems untrustworthy. The correct answer seems to be that I have been gone months not minutes, that I have been to a place thousands of miles away not thousands of feet away.  It is just not possible to explain to people that a plane is the only vehicle that can transport you like that.”





Our 601XL going aloft at sunset, 2006



2 Replies to “Thought for the Day: Planes as ‘transportation,’”

  1. Nice perspective William. Most of the plane drivers here with the big iron have to have a mission to justify flying. For me there is nothing like a sunset flight over uninhabited wilderness followed by a nice water landing back at the seaplane base. I taxi my Merlin in and it slides up the wooden slipway and gently stops. I let the Corvair idle smoothly for a minute or so. I then shut it down and sit and listen as the engine cools. I usually think “Man, how lucky am I?” Priceless.


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