Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Wonder of Flight

I ask people who don't fly, 'How can you not fly when you live in a time in history when you can fly?'

William Langewiesche, 2001

We need, occasionally, to be reminded of the degree to which we are privileged.

On today's 'to-do' list was the fetching of N631S from Manassas (KHEF), to which I diverted last night due to weather (see earlier post), back to home plate, KVKX. I invited my son Rich to tag along in the company of one of his good friends. Rich's friend is a very smart and astute fellow who had not, heretofore, been a passenger in a light General Aviation aircraft. The flight from KHEF to KVKX was an ideal introduction.

I had filed IFR for the short (about 20 minute) flight and we were cleared for the Arsenal Two departure to the Casanova (CSN) VOR, thence vectors to KVKX. Our final altitude was 3000, and the bases were for the most part around 2000. We got to see the inside of a couple of clouds.

My first-timer passenger asked good questions, and maintained a "sterile cockpit" environment for the departure and as we got in close to our destination. We had no problem doing the visual approach into KVKX. Potomac Approach ATC did their usual highly professional job. In short, if I wanted to expose a "newbie" to the best of General Aviation, I couldn't have asked for a better flight.

After landing, fueling, and hangaring N631S we stopped off for lunch and my now-veteran GA passenger asked another whole passel of really good questions. And, he allowed as how the flight had been about as much fun as he could remember having with clothes on!

Made my day, ya' know? We get jaded. We interact with ATC and we "monitor systems" as our excellent avionics take us from Point A to Point B. But we occasionally lose our appreciation of the miracle that occurs each and every time we accelerate down the runway and gently apply backpressure at about 55 knots. We need new eyes to remind us to be grateful. I am, this night, very grateful for what I have been given -- the gift of flight.

No comments: