Do You Love Aviation?
Yes? Great! At Sky Review, what we hope you’ll find is, inspiration, motivation, and at times information — pretty much in that order. Oh, and adventure too! We’ll seek to adorn the pages with extravagant and original photographs of airplanes, particularly warbirds with propellers — or perhaps jets if they have sexy tail art. In essence, this will be an exploration of how aviation relates to life.
My aviation adventure began with an unlikely encounter several years ago. You can read about it in, “Flying Lesson no. 1 in a P-51 Mustang.” While I’ve had an inherent interest in aircraft and WWII history for most of my life, I wasn’t really doing anything related to those interests, then all of that changed.
My professional background is in radio broadcasting and advertising. It was a chance encounter with The Collings Foundation which pointed me toward a path of learning to fly. As for most, learning to fly was about not breaking myself, the airplane, or any of the airport lighting and signage. However, after some hours, an instrument rating, several long cross-country flights, it became more about the people. We tend to see things according to our particular personalities, backgrounds, and individual experiences. While I love the machines of the air, the challenge of tail wheel flying (read landings), flying a superb ILS, or keeping it low and rockin’ some ole fashioned pilotage, I am overwhelmed by the people I’ve met and the absurd experiences I’ve had because of them. Why does any of that matter?
Aviation and the Human Condition
Aviation is loaded with analogous truths about life. Let’s face it, we are earth dwelling creatures. Despite the regular-ness of air travel for the average airline passenger, and their disdain for certain encumbrances therein, shooting through the air at a hundred or many hundreds of miles per hour is incredible. Nothing fleshes this out like learning to fly yourself. With some academic learning under your belt, you place your entire personage into the act of flying. This entails submitting yourself to whatever mother nature has conjured for those specific flying moments. You can’t disconnect, discount, or ignore what the wind is doing. Once you’ve embarked on a flight, you’ve made a subsequent commitment to land — arguably the most difficult part of flying. This fantastic inextricable agreement requires, forethought, planning, decisiveness, and courage. I would argue that many of our safe, tidy, and sanitary vocations are devoid of those kinds of elements. Some statistics indicate well over seventy percent of people dislike their work. Perhaps the absence of adventure, and daring are part of the problem. Yes, we live longer than we used to, however, Henry David Thoreau sums it up nicely:
“the mass of men lead lives of desperation.”
Thoreau, Henry D. Walden, Or, Life in the Woods. London: J.M. Dent, 1908. Print.
At any rate, in my estimation, the art of flying digs down into the better parts of what it means to be a fully alive human.
A Bit About This Sky Review
I understand there is opportunity for confusion over the word “review.” Allow me to explain. In this context, we are using “review” to mean — something on the order of it’s seventh possible meaning. Yeah, I know that’s nuts. Four-thirds of people will think we do product reviews. That’s the most common definition of the word review. Perhaps one day there will be a section for product reviews. For now, that is far to analytical and technically sticky. More about that in a moment. Additionally, we couldn’t very well go with “revue.” I believe that entails singing and dancing and whatnot. Eh, that’s just not where we are. Therefore, review in terms of SkyReview.US means, “a retrospective view or survey (as of one’s life),” according to our friends at Merriam-Webster. Nevertheless, the Sky Review logo is trademarked and on file at the Library of Congress. So, that plane has departed. Ok, that’s settled! Hey, I thought this was about flying, or aviation, or propellers or something.
In Love with the Art of Flying
In the course of obtaining my pilot license, I learned a lot about myself and noticed a great deal about life I hadn’t noticed before. As it turns out, hidden within the art of flying is a great deal about, beauty, adventure, struggle — all of that. Aviation is much more than flying machines and the utility of airplanes as transportation. Although there may be times when we write about something of an aviation newsworthy or technical flavor, it will be rather rare. Also, when we do, it will be from the perspective of the human condition. If you want to read scads of confusing and technically weighty verbiage, crack open that FAR/AIM. I do it regularly.
Now, where was I? Oh — humanity.
To become a pilot requires a leap of faith. To become an aviator begs discipline, commitment, responsibility, and a great many other things. Such is the art of flying. In becoming pilots, many of us are changed inside, and in review discover myriad life truths. See what I did there?
I encourage you to drop us a line — from the plane, you can, I checked the FAR’s. Also, comment on the articles, be humane, thoughtful, and tell someone else about your passion for flying. Let us know how aviation relates to life for you.
Tailwinds — Don M. Jones