Friday, January 28, 2011

Of Security and Flight...

This is a very good article on a couple levels... for one I totally agree about General Aviation and the amount of security required and the amount of "risk" GA poses to the general public. It is written by Lane Wallace and published in The Atlantic.

Second... hidden in the middle of the article is an awesome section about why we, the GA pilots who are not employed to fly, fly. Very good reading. I will quote that section here:

So why do pilots sacrifice and scrape together the money to fly, if not for a useful purpose? The reasons vary, of course. But for many, many pilots, it has to do with remembering something we all used to know, back when we were still young enough to believe that anything was possible and dreams could come true. "Three year olds," I once wrote in an essay on the subject, "may not know much about physics, investment banking, literature, or even the meaning of life, but they understand something very important about living.... [They understand] that life is in the ever-changing moment of the present, that joy is more important than possessions, and that dreams are the lifeblood of a heart and soul."

Unfortunately, as we grow older many of us find, or are told so many times that we start to believe it, that anything is not possible and dreams are for dreamers; irresponsible luxuries not related to putting food on the table. We live long enough to know the demons of disappointment and the restrictions of life's boundaries. Little by little, we lose that three-year-old belief in magic, dreams, and possibilities. And little by little, an important piece of our hearts dies.

And that is why many pilots fly. The exact incidents that draw future pilots to airports differ widely. But for many of them, the reason they stay is that in some way they can't even quite articulate, airplanes and flight bring that piece of their heart back to life. After all, flight itself a metaphor for freedom and possibility. A couple thousand feet up in the air, all the limits and disappointments of daily life fade away beneath an endless horizon and the thought, remembered again, of how unbelievably beautiful and vast the world is; how full of possibilities and roads still untraveled.

So, there you go. I hope someday you, too, can taste that freedom.

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