“Routine Flight,”

AS IF THERE IS such a thing.  The purpose of any flight may sound routine: “Flight instruction,” “Aircraft test flight,” “To Sebring for engine maintenance,” but the flying itself nearly always has some unexpected gift.  Those can’t-be-planned events filter into a pilot’s life nearly every time she lifts off the ground, whether or not he makes a note of them in his logbook, “Cloud of flamingoes rose from the reeds.”

Today’s flight was the above, “To Sebring for engine maintenance,” with Dan Nickens.  He said he’d be flying over the house around 9:30 and did I want to join him on his trip for maintenance?

Puff and I met Dan and Jennifer (WT’s less formal name) at 1,500 feet at 9:30.  The air was still and smooth, I switched the camera on for a crossover and return, floating in the air:

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Sine qua non


“Without which, Nothing.”

IT NEVER would have happened, this scene, under zero conditions would ever I have stood on this beach, heard this cool water whispering in the sand, felt that breeze across the water, were it not for the machine you see here, colored maroonish-white.

Is that what they had in mind, the ones who labored and failed, labored and won the inventions of flight?  “It’s not the machine that matters,” would they have said, “it’s the experience that the machine will bring to lives unborn!”

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It’s hard to tell by looking


I’LL BET that the man in the front cockpit of that T-28 doesn’t look much different to you from any other instructor pilot you’ve known.

It’s hard to tell by looking, but Jamie V. Forbes was one of those few men whose sheer quiet character taught me more than the hundred-some hours we flew together.

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