Yesterday was Windwalker’s birthday. His wife Audine hit him with a surprise party, with lots of friends, fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts.
It’s the perfect time to post his essay on what he finds beautiful about flying. First posted on the PFSG Forum when I was taking my IFR course with Meynard.
I agree 100% that an IFR rating isn’t for everybody. If you’ll look back on previous posts about IFR flying and getting an instrument card, I think I mention “be careful of what you wish for” on most of them.
You and I fly for different reasons. You might say, flying was my salvation. When I seriously pursued becoming a pilot, I worked hard to achieve the goals I set for myself. In setting these goals, I created my own world, not completely accepting the one I was in.
Now let me take you into “my” world.
This is why flying is so beautiful to me: I get a grand view of the universe at the same time I get a closer look at its parts.
Flying demands a great amount of skill and command of a complex body of technical information. A pilot with superb flying skills, but no knowledge of aerodynamics or the limitations of his airplane is just as dangerous as the pilot who has mastered the theoretical aspects of aviation but can’t control his airplane.
Each aspect depends on the other, and neither is sufficient by itself (Zen).
Think about it, Tonet. When you and I fly, neither side of our brains is ignored or idle. Flying lets us use our skills and intelligence to levels of performance we seldom need to attain in other areas of our lives. To exercise our human capacities to the fullest. Few people find something that demands so much of them and at the same time brings them so much pleasure.
I have invested my total identity into flying to find the magic it held for me. I have discovered the delight that comes with the joyful exercise of well-developed skills. I practice, I work hard, I occasionally fail and endure times of complete frustration. This is the price I pay to do what I love. Through flying, I have found myself, and I pay willingly.
I love to fly, period. I don’t fly because the company pays me to. That’s just a bonus.
When Meynard told you “the world lost a good Captain,” he didn’t mean that just literally. There were other reasons the world lost a good Captain.
In the end, heaven is a personal thing. I have found mine. Perhaps you’ve also found yours.
Tonet’s Postscript: Some years ago Windwalker contributed his time to Kythe, which benefits pediatric patients — mostly terminally ill children. Manny and Nicole, a leukemia-stricken child, were photographed for the Kythe calendar.
I’m not sure where Nicole is now. He wanted to be a pilot.
Perhaps you already found your heaven, Nicole. Fly high always.
Posted from Manila, January 3, 2009