Friday, November 27, 2009

Over the river...and over the woods...and over and over...

Took a few minutes Thursday to grab a look at my favorite flight-watching web site and watched in amazement at the hundreds of dotted lines drawn across the Continental U.S...and it gave me a moment's pause to reflect on the value of our airplanes and of aviation to the nation -- and the sacrifices of those who labor in aviation at levels where flying's 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year nature comes into play.

For each of those dotted lines edging its way across the map at least one pilot was at work employing great skills and well-learned knowledge to take safely to their destinations the charges in the plane.

For each of those dotted lines, someone somewhere helped prep the flight with fuel, maybe a tow or hangar removal.

Unseen on my screen was a cadre of aviation professionals at work managing those hundreds and hundreds of flights with air-traffic control services, in towers and TRACONs and Centers spending part of their Thanksgiving watching their own screens so that others could safely transit the nation.

Unseen on my screen was the workforce of our Flight Service, the contractor's employees who strive to provide a public service from a for-profit company that tries to balance the interests of its customers with those of its shareholders -- most of whom probably don't even know the company is in this business.

Also unseen, but well known from experience, was the thousands of faces wet with the tears of joy at the sight of family and friends delivered safely through the skies to experience Thanksgiving with them, of children and parents, husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and cousins and in-laws, many of them like my friends, who used their winged machines, their skills and privileges to travel to them and enjoy the glow and warmth of family and friends gathered for the holidays.

And in four more weeks the process will repeat itself with one friend flying off to see his children, another fetching parents and child to unite at a common location, and still another winging off to deliver gifts to far flung children with little to look for over the holidays save the late-night visit of an old, bold pilot bearing the ultimate gift of unselfishness and generosity.

To all in the system, to all who used it or worked it and made it happen, hope yours was a great Thanksgiving. For you, to you, our thanks.

And to all our great listeners, however you spent your holiday weekend, here's my note of thanks for you and for living in a world that lets us enjoy the freedom of flight like no other civilization in history.

-- Dave

Monday, November 23, 2009

KASH Meetup

On six days notice we still managed to get 11 people to our Saturday morning brunch at Nashua NH's KASH.

One of the attendees came in his nordo/no-electical-system Cub. Here's a video of him hand-propping and departing.

Thanks to all who came out. It was great to meet you all.

-- Jack

(Thanks to listener rfelty for the pic and the video.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Episode 160, then 159

Don't Panic!

I just posted Episode #160.

Now I know that I haven't yet posted 159. It's coming. I'm relatively certain that this isn't about to become another #104 situation. #159 will be along real-soon-now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day: The Living Memorial

Shared an adult libation recently with a good friend, a former combat pilot who flew WWII and Korea, and another good fellow who served as an air controller in the latter conflict. The subject of the moment centered in some of the military memorials they visited on different swings around the country: The D-Day Museum, as it was originally called, in New Orleans; the WWI institution in Kansas City; the WWII Memorial and Vietnam wall in D.C.

Great places, those and others too numerous to recount. But it seemed to me that, and this was my words to them: "You can see the greatest memorial to our veterans every day, without leaving your hometown, in the nation around you, the citizens here and the hope and promise still represented by our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution."

We are the embodiment of what our service women and men have fought to protect, a living, breathing memorial to the successes of their service.

Hundreds of millions of living memorials, their homes, their jobs and businesses, their lives and freedoms, memorialized daily in their abilities to go about their daily lives and benefit from the liberties promised by those ingenious documents and won by the blood, sweat, tears and lives of the women and men who served to assure it all continues.

From the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than reuse a word getting threadbare with use and try to label every one a hero, let me raise my toast with a greater word and thank them as true patriots -- patriots willing to serve, whether in a rifle company or a supply unit, whether on the front lines of a war with no lines, or in the support offices back in the States.

As the events of the last week so tragically demonstrated, all can be in harms way on any given day. We can, it seems to me, honor them best by remembering the ideals of our nation, by living and supporting those beliefs, by working toward the common good and the guarantee that we all benefit and enjoy those promises.

Those of us who do not -- those who act to impose their own view of America on those who disagree, to those who would enforce one narrow view of the world or their beliefs on others with different visions of the same freedoms -- dishonor the efforts of those who served and they deserve none of what they receive, least of all any label approaching "patriot."

To the True Patriots among us, those who serve and those who serve to support the promise of our nation, one and all of us, and the living memorials that are America's citizens and the country they endow: Thank you all.

-- Dave