I obviously have a thing for airplanes, but I think there’s a difference between enjoying flying and really admiring the workmanship and engineering that goes into building aircraft. I love to fly, but I’m amazed at the technology that goes into creating and designing airplanes. Taking a concept from the drawing board, to manufacturing and ultimately to flying has to be an unbelievable process. I not only admire this but love the beautifully crafted results, especially designs that are successful and have stood the test of time through the ages. The distinct and unique sounds of an engine that fit perfectly with a breathtaking frame, conjure up images in my mind of days past when these beauties were abundant and filled the skies with their presence.
I’ve dreamed of flying in a biplane since I was sixteen years old, after reading Richard Bach’s, Illusions. His tales of barnstorming across the farm fields of the midwest wrapped my imagination around a world that was completely foreign to me. It was one I longed to experience for myself. When I’ve dreamt of flying, it’s always been in a biplane. I never had the opportunity until I started going to air shows recently, and realized that you could still pay to take a ride in one of these gorgeous planes.
My first really big air show and it’s in my home state of Florida. I started thinking about it last year when my brother-in-law mentioned that it was right in his back yard. After being grounded and trying to find a way to stay connected to flying, planes and people that love aviation, I started looking for some air shows to go to and photograph. Sun-n-Fun just happens to be the one that kicks off the season.
My wonderful oncologist, true to his word, got me in to the Senior Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to work with me on getting back to flying. I was so excited to have this appointment scheduled; I couldn’t wait to go. It’s probably the first time that I’ve ever been anxious to go to a doctor’s appointment, especially lately with my recurring list of appointments. I’m beginning to feel like an old person that has to plan their week around all of their medical appointments. Geez…
One of the things you look forward to when you get your pilot’s license is flying somewhere to eat. In my neck of the woods, it’s the Pik-n-Pig in Carthage, NC. It’s one of the most talked about fly-in places around, and one that everyone looks forward to flying to for one of their cross country flights. This will be my first time to The Pig, as it’s affectionately known among my pilot friends.
The weather finally cooperated and I was able to complete my first dual cross country flight. I’ve been trying to get my cross country in for about a month, and the weather has been so wet and windy that it was cancelled multiple times. If you’re a student pilot, you have experienced training delays at some point along the way too. It’s just part of being a pilot, you learn that the weather is always a factor no matter what time of year you fly.
Today I’m the official amateur photographer for an adventure flight with my friends and fellow pilots, Chris and Eric. Eric messaged us for a New Year’s Day flight to the Pik-n-Pig in Carthage at 5NC3 airport and I can’t think of a better way to start 2015 than by going flying.
Some days it’s enough to just look up at the sky and watch planes fly over, but other days, the pull of something more exciting calls me by name and beckons for me to come. It’s an airplane with my name on it that longs to be flown as much as I long to be in the air with it. There’s something wonderful that happens every time I set foot into my home airport, it’s a place where I feel completely comfortable and at ease. I look out at the runway and take a deep breath; breathe it all in, and exhale like it’s freedom. It is. It’s freedom and excitement like I’ve never known. It stirs in me like rushing waves that calm and soothe on one hand, but it’s also like a fire that burns and warms me from the inside out on the other hand.
Coming home to Pensacola for the first time since 2009 wasn’t only my homecoming this year, but also the 100th Anniversary of the Navy and the Blue Angels 2014 Homecoming Show. I hadn’t seen the Blue Angels fly in years. I love an air show and seeing them at home in Pensacola held a special excitement for me. Growing up here it’s hard not to fall in love with the Blue Angels. When they are home, they will impress you throughout the year practicing over the Gulf. I’ve always been amazed by their aerobatic feats and supersonic jets. This will be the first time I’ve seen them at an air show in the F/A-18s.