Van's Air Force
Western Canada Wing
I began to fly because I was afraid. Nobody else I knew of was doing it. It was costly, risky, adventurous, and not approved of by my folks. Something though, was pushing me onward. I learned to love it and it gave me something back. Pride, appreciation, and self-esteem to face down trepidation.
A while ago, I pushed the RV out to the grass and a fellow came by, full of questions, and declared proudly that he had once flown an Ercoupe, coast to coast and back. Awesome, for I too, had flown an Ercoupe to Mexico and back when I was a kid. I had to wonder what fires kids today? Where is the courage and adventure? I thought of a time when a row of 20 Mustangs were retired and parked on the grass, I got into one and sat with canopy closed and hands on stick and throttle, visualized the boys who sat here before and what they may have experienced, and wondered if I would have the kind of courage that they had. The guns were now cold and the contrails were long gone, and I sat in that row of 20 Mustangs and thought back.
I read once where, in the Great War, most
of the aces with big scores were teenagers, frequently dead before their
Now, decades later, I was to summon up courage once more to try to be at one with an airplane that was more than anything I had experienced before. With each flight, we got to know each other better and time and thoughts were allowed to enjoy more of what was outside the cockpit.
Time to look at the wings, and the colour of them, the fields below, and the shading of clouds along the way. I climbed to 9,000, throttled back to turn and come back home, and glided quietly and thought how beautiful it all looked and how we too, must look beautiful: ruby, burgundy, and white, up against the blue. I thought of the serenity of flight by the wonderful flying scenes in “Out of Africa” and “The English Patient” and the inspiring music of the background. This would make anyone with a soul stir his passion for pure flight. This craft slipping along the halls of air, this cathedral of the skies. It is to weep.
I read, too, of a man who, this month, is about to fly a 70?year?old biplane from London back to Australia. An Avro Avian, retracing the steps of those like Antoine de St. Exupery who wrote, in “Wind, Sand and Stars,” of crossing the cold desert at night and the furnace of the timeless plains by day, all on a compass and map (if any). The drive and the courage is still out there in some. It is a reckoning with one’s self.
I am a teen no more and I still need to
summon up nerve sometimes, but the winning of it still thrills me and the
purity of flying is ever fresh to me. The RV lets me extend myself
and brings me up to where the world is broad and grand and riotous with
colour and sensual delights.
Landing once again is a handshake of two companions who have enjoyed each other’s company until the next time.
Thank you Van, thank you RV, and thank you all out there.
A member of the
Web Standards Project
Support free speech.
Van's Air Force Western Canada Wing is not affiliated in any way with Van's Aircraft Incorporated. Western Canada RVator is not a publication of Van's Aircraft or any other corporation. All products reviewed or mentioned are not necessarily recommended for use by RV builders, but are described for information only. All builder's tips are presented only as a source of information and a forum for exchange and the sharing of ideas and construction methods. No responsibility is assumed, expressed, or implied as to the suitability, accuracy, safety, or approval thereof. Any party using the suggestions, ideas, or examples does so at his or her own risk and discretion and without recourse against anyone. The members of Van's Air Force Western Canada Wing, the editor of the Western Canada RVator, and all authors and contributors are not responsible for any product or builder's tips misuse, incorrect construction, or design failure, nor any other peril.
All material on this web site is copyright Van's Air Force Western Canada Wing, or copyright the attributed author, unless otherwise noted.