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Favorite part about Aviation

Posted By:
Doug Pherson
26
Posts
17
#1 Posted: 11/5/2010 23:16:26

After being away from the EAA community forums for a while now (a missing it terribly
sad) because of a new job that I started, which involves aviation, I thought, what better way that to ask fellow aviation fans a simple yet complex question.  What is you favorite part about aviation?  Yes there are so many subjects related to aviation.  You have the subject of just loving the thrill of flying from point A to point B, the early years of flight (the Wright Brother, Bleriot, etc), the pioneers who made flight possible with their innovations and machines, the Golden Age of Flight, Air Racing, the list can go on and on.  We all have our reasons for loving aviation, no matter what it might be.  So allow me to be the first to get things started.  Allow me to share a couple of reasons with you all.

 

I have to say that my favorite part about aviation would be about air racing.  Such innovation, technology, the thrill of flying at high speeds low to the ground must have been a sight to behold back then.  Yes it still goes on through the Reno Air Racing Championships and the Red Bull Air Racing, but back then, it was such a spectacle.  In terms, it would make most current sporting events look like backyard events (in my humble opinion
wink).  Thousands of people just sitting and watch planes go around and blazing speeds, hearing those air-cooled and liquid cooled engines and full power.  The pilots who would risk their own lives for a thrill and adrenaline rush to entertain people.  From the Thompson Trophy Races, to other Trophy Races, just thinking about it make me tingle with imagination of what it must of felt, looked, and yes even smelled like back then.  In that short time from 1919 to 1939, in that twenty year period, first time inventions were being made and discovered that made flight in later years more advanced because of air racing.  For example, the invention of the cowling to go over engines that made planes more powerful and streamlined without having to add more power to the engine.  Retractable landing gear, making the airplane more streamlined which means faster speed, for example as seen on the Cessna CR-2 and others after it.  You also had the planes that would not only smash world speed records, but also be the defining line that would create some of the most famous fighters in World War II.  The list goes on and on.  So it dawned on me years ago,  Where would aviation be without the men (and women), the machines, and the inventions without the era of air racing during quite possibly the most important (and favorite) time of aviation?

 

So what about the rest of you all out there?  What is your favorite part of aviation?  It can be anything that you love about it.  Just make sure you explain why.  There are no right or wrong answers, just humble opinions about aviation and the best parts about it that you love the most   



Anthony Goetz
Homebuilder or Craftsman
32
Posts
5
#2 Posted: 11/6/2010 22:29:12

Good question, Douglas

Four reasons came to me right off the bat.

First and foremost, I love watching the world go by from above. I've loved that ever since I was a kid flying commercially. Up there, the world looks so peaceful down below. Watching the sun set as the shadows from mountains and buildings stretch longer, watching cars driving in some peaceful Midwestern town 6 miles below and wondering what those people are doing that day, and (possibly my favorite), seeing a patchwork of cloud shadows overlaid on top of the patchwork of farm fields. I don't know why, but that image has always stuck with me. Maybe because it reminds me of going to visit Grandma and Grandpa in Iowa. I still love it. I also like the peace as I take in my setting - sitting in the sky, drinking a coke, and looking out the window at the desert in the evening.

That was mostly appreciation I've received from airline travel, but the peace and "watching the world go by" is applicable to GA as well. I don't quite get as much of that as a low-time pilot, however, since I'm not comfortable enough to just sit back and soak it in and I don't do many long cross countries. Honestly, I like being a passenger almost as much as being a pilot. Almost. I do very much like the idea of puttering around at 1000 feet over farmland in an open cockpit (or any) airplane though. A sunset flight like that, or down the coast here in CA, sounds perfect. Maybe it's the romantic in me.

A very close second is taking off on a drizzly, cold, overcast morning and breaking out just after dawn. I can't wait to get my instrument rating and do it on my own time. Not the most original thought, but it's still true.

Third, I love the history. The 1930's and 1940's have always been my favorite for aviation. I love the technology and how the 1920's/30's vision of the future manifested itself in some of the most beautiful airplanes ever built (I'll cite the XP-38 as one of the best examples of this).

Lastly, I love the power. I don't imagine there are many aviation enthusiasts who don't love the sound of a Merlin engine, or a couple of twin row radials, or the soul shaking power of an afterburner. Those are the most wonderful sounds in the world.


I've decided that one day I will have an open cockpit biplane, an airplane with a radial engine or two, and an airplane with afterburner, just so I can enjoy all these parts of aviation.


-Tony



David Gray
IAC MemberHomebuilder or CraftsmanUltralight EnthusiastAirVenture Volunteer
38
Posts
10
#3 Posted: 11/7/2010 00:39:03 Modified: 11/7/2010 01:15:26

I like the people. I am low time and fly a Champ. High time people like Champs too, and Bushwheels.

 

 



Jerry Rosie
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
482
Posts
101
#4 Posted: 11/7/2010 08:34:46

Let's be honest, guys!  Pilots attract chicks!

 



Cheers, Jerry NC22375 out of 07N
Frank Giger
Homebuilder or Craftsman
117
Posts
33
#5 Posted: 11/8/2010 02:03:14
Jerry Rosie wrote:

 

Let's be honest, guys!  Pilots attract chicks!

 

 

Thank goodness my wife doesn't read these forums!  But she took one look at the flying helmet and goggles and laughed, so I don't think I'm in any danger of being rushed at by the crowds of beaties that hang around the County airport. 

 

I'm a super low hour pilot (meaning that yes, I have soloed), but there are a few things that have confirmed this whole flying thing as an addiction:

 

1) There is something viscerally pleasing in piloting an airplane.  The man had it right with the "slipping the surly bonds of Earth" statement - it's a sense of freedom and satisfaction that stands alone.  I need not say to this group that if you have to have it explained to you, you'll never understand.

2) Other pilots.  I'm on the low end of the status scale - Sport Pilot Student - but while the discussions over why to get a "baby" or "half" license can be spirited, it's within the context of being part of a unique community.  My wife noted that while I don't carry a picture of her or the kid there is a picture of the plane I fly in my wallet (even though it's on the business card of my instructor, apparently this counts).

3) Other builders.  It doesn't matter if one is building an ultralight, a little tube and fabric WWI replica or an RV-8, I've been greeted with a glad hand and offers of assistance (and offers to assist, which I jumped on).   



Michael Mayes
5
Posts
3
#6 Posted: 11/10/2010 13:00:36

Chief among the reasons I love flying is the view, even though saying that might seem like a insignificant  reason.  Something about looking down at the ground from 3000 ft has some magic.  For some reason it makes me simultaneously feel isolated and relaxed, and connected to the people on the ground.  Isolated because it is usually me alone up there with empty air all around me, relying on nothing but myself.  Connected because suddenly I have a more full view of what is going on down there uncluttered by buildings and obstructions that obscure the horizon on the ground.  I see people zipping about on roads, all the homes and neighbors looking really close together, the city skyline in the distance reminding me that while it seems like a big town on the ground, things are not as far as they seem.  Also everything on the ground is pretty unique.  I think I could fly over the same farmland cross country 10 times, and still find new cool stuff to look at on the ground.

Second big reason is the challenge.  There is just so much to learn in aviation.  And when you learn something, you can usually perfect and hone it.  I've never been a confident person or pilot, and while almost every action that I take seems like a mini challenge, it usually ends up okay due to training, ability, or whatever.  Even in the cases where things don't go as planned, so far I always recover and try and find the best path to take in that situation, learning in the process.  I guess in a way the challenge is part of the fun, building confidence and knowledge always makes me feel good.



Becky Shipman
Homebuilder or Craftsman
6
Posts
2
#7 Posted: 11/10/2010 13:31:46

I vote for the view, too - I love to identify places I've seen on the ground from the air.  Flying over Duluth and seeing Lake Superior from the air in the winter is just beautiful, and finding a small runway from the air is challenging.  I love to take friends over their houses - they get a whole new perspective.

The other thing that I like about flying is that there is a combination of science/physics understanding with the physical part of feeling the airplane change direction, stall, take off, land.  I like motorcycle riding because of the physical feel and thrill, but there's a part of flying that appeals to my engineer brain as well.  It's taking on the challenges of flying using my head and my body.

Planes just look cool, too.



Richard Warner
Homebuilder or CraftsmanAirVenture Volunteer
32
Posts
2
#8 Posted: 11/11/2010 20:57:55

I have to say the absolute feeling of freedom, the view of our beautiful earth from above, and the friends I have met and enjoy hanging around with.  I'm one of the lucky ones who flew for an occupation.  For thirty years I was paid very well for enjoying my hobby.  I still enjoy it, but now I pay to enjoy it. :-)



Rod Witham
Homebuilder or Craftsman
62
Posts
17
#9 Posted: 11/12/2010 00:33:59

I care little about transit, about getting from Point A to Point B - that's for the Captains of Industry and Commerce who are far more capable than I am. For me, there's a certain enjoyment about flying just for the love of flying, and it starts with the take-off.

You know the feeling: the pre-flight as the sun is coming up; the engine smoothly winding up in the take-off roll as the controls start to come to life; and the flirting dance on the rudder pedals as you herd this eager tornado down the center of the strip. And then the tail comes up and soon you can literally feel the wings begin to take the load, you can feel any skitter as the mains start to get light. You can feel the ground with the tires, you can feel the lift with each of the wings now, and that's when this thing starts to become something more than a human in a machine.

Then there's that moment of incredible transformation when the whole blasting fury on the runway is replaced by a surprising tranquillity as you take to the air. Right here -each and every flight, for those who have eyes to see it- there's an impossible magic that unites a lump of earthbound flesh and some bits of metals and pieces of fabric into a thing of singular grace.

Nothing left to do then but climb on up and watch the beauty of the world as it unfolds before you.

It really doesn't matter where I'm flying or how fast I can get there - those are worries of Industry and Commerce and have little to do with the magic of flight. What does matter is what I see and do along the way...



Jerry Rosie
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
482
Posts
101
#10 Posted: 11/12/2010 09:00:54

Rod - you have captured the magic of taildraggers......congrats!

 



Cheers, Jerry NC22375 out of 07N
Joe LaMantia
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
175
Posts
69
#11 Posted: 11/12/2010 12:47:20

Some really beautiful thoughts on this thread!  Here's my addition.  

I love the challenge that comes in every flight and the feeling of accomplishment I get when I've returned the plane to the hanger and drive home.  It doesn't matter how far I fly or what airport I land at I always find something I did that could be improved upon.  Most of the time it's just something I have already learned but may not have experienced for awhile.   So, I re-learn a lesson and laugh at myself.  

Last Saturday I flew from Ohio, Piqua-Hartzell (I17) to Lancaster, Wi (73C).  The "mission" was to visit my son who had tickets for the Green Bay/Dallas game last Sunday evening.  The flight out was pretty much uneventful, in that the weather was as forecast, very little wind.  I did spot an Air Guard A-10 in north central Indiana, a really neat sight from the air.

The game was also excellent for those of us who proudly claim "cheesehead" status since the Pack won 45 to 7!  Condolences to all the Cowboy fans on the thread.  I left Lancaster on Tuesday morning with CAVU weather all the way back to the Buckeye state.  I can't remember when I had a more pleasant flight across the mid-west!  I arrived back at Piqua having hit every checkpoint in a new non-stop route home.  

This sounds like a perfect flight but the approach and landing should be classified under "needs improvement".  I have been flying our club TriPacer most of the time and I'm getting pretty good at flying close-in patterns with decent touchdowns.  I took our club Archer on this trip and it likes to float if your high and or fast on approach.  Well I flew the downwind leg too close to the runway and my base leg was a bit short so I overshot and wound up high and fast on final.  I knew I screwed-up about midway on base, the good news is I had 4000 foot of runway in front of me on final.  The actual touchdown was quite nice and the roll out was pretty short so I managed to salvage the landing despite a lousy approach.  I re-learned another old lesson, don't get too comfortable on a long flight and forget to stay ahead of the airplane your flying.  


I love this stuff!


Joe 

>:\)