Most of my posts on the Let's Go Flying blog have been, up to this point, about professional pilot paths. I want to take a pause from this theme however, to share with you a recently re-discovered reason for wanting to learn how to fly: to find your own personal favorite flight (as a pilot of course).
This reason-for-flying occurred to me while at dinner with some friends this past Saturday. My friends, who I enjoyed a splendid evening with, are quite unique in the fact that both the husband and the wife are former USAF pilots. He used to fly the U-2 and she, the A-10. Talk about some interesting dinner conversation! During the course of our conversation, we began to share our most memorable, favorite flights with one another. Each story was unique and at the same time, shared similar threads and highlights.
My favorite flight took place between Yuma, Arizona and Colorado Springs, Colorado in a battered old Cessna 404 (a big lumbering twin-engine aircraft). This took place while I was working as an aerial survey pilot. My camera operator and I were assigned to leave our current project in Yuma and fly to Colorado Springs for some "reflights" before heading home to Dayton, Ohio. We left Yuma and flew northeastward across Arizona, cut across the upper northwestern corner of New Mexico, into Colorado and the Rockies until reaching Colorado Springs. If you are familiar with this corner of the United States at all, you already know that my route encompassed a beautiful swath of barren desert, ragged canyons, and breath taking mountain scenery. It was a beautiful day with unlimited visibility which allowed for spectacular views of places like, Meteor Crater, Shiprock, Wolf Creek Pass, and the Royal Gorge Bridge. The sun was beginning to set as I passed over most of these locations and that only served to enhance already incredible views. It is also important to note that it is one thing to cross this area at 40,000 feet, as I have many times since in a jet, but another thing altogether to fly over these places at 11,000 - 15,000 feet. At that altitude, you feel that you could literally touch the tops of many of those natural monuments (it was all legal though....don't worry).
My friend's story from dinner was similar. Of course his story included skimming peaks at 500 + knots and at a legal 500 feet off the ground but still, we had a strong aviation connection. Because each of us had vivid memories from a special flight and those memories will last us each for a lifetime.
I ask and encourage you, what will your favorite flight be? What story will you answer with when someone asks you? It'll be hard to answer that question unless you do TODAY what it takes to make your dream of flying a reality. So...Let's Go Flying!