View Full Version : What is SO special about flying?

Hersham Boy
24th May 2001, 20:28
Sounds obvious? P'raps not...

Flying as pax in a big airliner is fun (sometimes) but in a different ballpark on a different Continent to flying the a/c yourself.

So what is it? Being above the ground, in control of the machine that keeps us floating at several thousand feet? Being able to do something that only a very small proportion of our fellow-man can/does?

I think for me, it is the feeling of being a million miles from anything that might have been troubling you on the deck - combined with the freedom to go anywhere you want, virtually unhindered...

Any other thoughts?

Hippy Hersh

I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set and I think I need a Lear jet

ickle black box
24th May 2001, 20:44
The ability to pull mega G an watch the world go round n round n round, blue green blue .... upside down green/blue

How anyone can't love aeroboticals is beyond me, I last saw the world upside down hmmm.. 4 days ago :) (In a glider)


Send Clowns
24th May 2001, 21:14
Oh, Ickle, you are mean. I haven't had a decent aerobatic machine strapped on for about three years, and miss it! It's not the same seeing blue every time you look up, and being able to lift your head upright again afterwards (impossible at 5g with a helmet on!).

'Me here at last on the ground, you in mid air'

24th May 2001, 23:37
Freedom, my friend..........

25th May 2001, 01:25
Dumb question to ask a pilot, most of us lack the ability to express it in words. We're neither articulate enough or intelligent enough to explain why.
This thread will die shortly for that very reason.
You will get a variety of answers, few will come close to explaining why.
Money, there are better paid jobs; lifestyle, few would choose the hours, glamour? sometimes. The satisfaction of controlling a powerful machine? Freedom? A quick and efficent means of transport, well that's how it's sold. Many is the business aircraft bought on that basis, or more accurately justified. An exciting and challenging hobby? Of course, but then so is football.
So what makes it so special then, well all I know is that I knew I would fly since I became conscious that people could. Aged eighteen I finally flew for the first time. The moment old 'Charlie Victor' left the ground was simply the inevitable culmination of years of excited anticipation.
On the way home, I felt sorry for all those other people on the bus who didn't fly. To this day I feel the same after every flight. Don't we all? There they are wrapped up in their closed little world completely unaware that they are in the company of someone who only minutes ago was a speck in the sky and an hour ago was on the other side of the country. Lately I've been feeling sorry for myself.
How do we express it, Maybe we should stop one of them and explained why it's so special. Don't, the glazed look in friends eyes and the admonition from them not to talk about it anymore prevents me from ever doing so.

As ever Saint-Exupery expressed it perfectly
'It's only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.'

'What is essential is invisible to the eye.'
(The Little Prince)

Why is the sunset beautiful, why does a bird sing, why is flying so special?

I don't know either. Perhaps it's better that way.

[This message has been edited by Steepclimb (edited 25 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Steepclimb (edited 25 May 2001).]

25th May 2001, 02:19
Simple. Like many of us, I grew up in the 60s.

We watched the Apollo program, saw Armstrong on the Moon and like most young kids we were all going to be astronauts when we grew up.

Well, I didn't make it into space but I am flying helicopters. For me, its the nearest I'm going to get (at least until I've saved up my $20M !).

Back Course Bandit
25th May 2001, 07:37
I think one of the main things about flying that appeals to me is seeing the world from above. Everything takes on a new perspective once you're up there, whether it's 500ft or FL350.

It feels as though you're the only one up there sometimes and that's what I love.


"To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems" - Homer J. Simpson

Dave Incognito
25th May 2001, 07:53
As a pax it was always the sensation of lifting off and then spending the flight looking out the window at the world below. Cruising through or above the clouds is also a favourite of mine.

When I finally got to fly from up the front end of the plane, I found there was not only a better view, but a great sense of satisfaction knowing you were in charge. On my first solo and first solo nav, I spent most of the flight flying with a massive smile on my face that wouldn’t go away.

Have a good one, Dave.

Flying is easy - just throw yourself at the ground and miss.

drop bags bar
25th May 2001, 08:12
Beats working for a living!!! http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/cool.gif

25th May 2001, 08:55
Nothing better than pulling the aircraft out from the hanger and preflighting it in the pre-dawn light, the feel of the cold aluminum, the smell of leather and avgas, you caress the wing and prop blade's and it's an almost sexual relation ship between man and machine. lining up on the run way you open the taps, the acceleration pushes at the small of your back and moments later your airborne the world drops away beneath you as you carve a hole through the sweet morning air.

25th May 2001, 10:06
For me it's that moment right after rotation, when you feel the wheels leave the pavement and you lose that expansion strip "thump thump" and get that slightly different sensation in the seat of your pants that tells you the wings have taken over and you have indeed "slipped the surley bonds"

Ok, I might be strange, but it's almost sexual.

It's not a matter of where I am, it's a matter of where I am.

25th May 2001, 11:38
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies with laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed,and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up,up the long,delirious,burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or eagle flew- and while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee Jr
I think that sums it up nicely

The Nr Fairy
25th May 2001, 14:56
For me, some part of the joy of flying comes from the effort I need to expend to do it properly, sort of man against the technical challenge and winning type thing.

The other part is the brilliant and different views - how many people have seen London from directly over the Thames at 1000' - me neither until later this year when I do the heli-lanes. I don't really like the rotation bit either, 'cos I fly helicopters with skids.

And, you have to ignore everything else in your life for a bit to do it right - a good way to wind down, even if it is a bit of an expensive way to do it !!

25th May 2001, 15:42
Nr: Agree 100% on all three counts.

Did the Heli-lanes myself a couple of years back - all the way down to the Dome, then we were directed on the way back to maintain "not above 500 feet" all the way along the Thames. Fantastic !! Enjoy.

25th May 2001, 17:10
Why do I think flying is so special?

Having got up at 7am and watched to sun rise from my garden with a cup of coffee and a cat on my lap, get into car and drive through the deserted streets of south London and see the sights of a large city waking up. Arrive at Biggin Hill at about 8 and go out to take covers off plane, it's a perfect morning, their is a slight mist on the ground that is rapidly burning off and the VOR has just become visible through it, up above the last pink of the sun rise is begiming to vanish from the few high altitude clouds present. It's about 5oC and I have to brush the light frost off the leading edges of the PA-28's wings as my breath forms large clouds when I exhale.

It's an almost windless day and in the silence of an airfield before it statrs up for the day a few sparrows and starlings and demonstrating that they don't need to wait for clearance before taking to the air by flying through the parked aircraft and the few other people getting ready to take advantage of the best flying day for ages.

The mist has almost completly gone now and I can see out over the thames looking down 03 and see the faint glimmer of aircraft in the Heathrow holding pattern over LAM, poor sods! Stow covers in the back and check the fuel, two full tanks, perfect! It's now 8:45 and the first signs of the airfield waking up, the fire trucks are doing their runway check and the sparrows are being chased off by a Land Rover. As I go back into the club house for a cup of coffee and a final check and weather when the ATIS gets going, the last of the mist has left the field and the view is fantastic just a few clouds in the sky and vapour trails being formed by invisibleaircraft high up, I find my self woundering where they are heading as I sip my coffee and check the map one last time. I sign out the aircraft and go to do my preflight checks.

9am exactly with information alpha and a perfect day I start my engine and move onto the taxiway having made my call, r/w 03 so not far to go, power up checks, point any way you like the wind sock is limp! Quite a few other a/c around, some classic tail draggers go past and a Lear Jet calls for engine start as I am cleared to line up 03, line up, ready, cleared and give it full throttle, feet on floor, speed rising, looking for 70, got 70, nose up and almost before I realise the ride becomes smoother as we leave the hard tarmac behind and clear the runway at 600ft.

Right turn 1.5 miles and I'm free after saying good bye to approch.

There is still some mist in the valleys and as I fly out over the Kent countryside I can see the channel to my right and well past London to my left. All my troubles have been left at the point where my wheels left the ground, the car insurance, the house everything has been blanked from my mind, I only think of flying and how beautiful the country is, I look down on places I have walked, think of the girl I once knew who came from that village and look at the statly homes and vineyards going past below me, at 3000ft you can't easily see cars and people, the country below is a patchwork of greens and browns and the countours play tricks with the eye making fields appear to change shape as you fly over them and occasionally you see a Eurostar train heading down to France, I can almost see it's destination.

After a couple of hours flying around Canterbury and the south coast it's time to head back, it's soo still today that I amost forget I'm in a plane at all and only remember when I realise that the dials in frount of me arn't those of a car, it's becoming almost second nature to me, I feel comfortable in the air and the slight pressure on the control column is a comfort to me as I push forwards to take a closer look at the ground below.

Time to land, call for re-join, 2nd after the 172, fly circuit, look down on the bike racing at Highams farm and the broken cars where the travellers were, 172 on the ground, final checks and turn onto the centreline, one red one white PAPI, perfect. Come in with two stages of flap nice and slow. Level off, stall sounds and the slight squeek of the wheels re-engaging with terra firma. I've picked up my troubles again from where they were left but I don't mind I can forget about them for a bit longer all I can think of is the flight, taxi back to stand and shut down, the next person with the a/c is already waiting so not too much to do, sign it back in, hand over the keys and then work out how much I owe, but I don't mind, forget drugs, flying is something very special, it makes me feels great and I never want to stop. People who have never been up in a light aircraft can never know what it's like, or understand why I am willing to pay 70 an hour to go nowhere, but to just see the world from a different perspective and forget all my worries, I wouldn't even try and put a price on it!

Not just a different continent Hersham, it's a different world!

<>< Gold fish

Windy Militant
25th May 2001, 17:45
Years ago Ray Charles was asked by a reporter to explain what "Soul" was and how to get it? The great man replied (as best I remember) " If you have to ask what it is you'll never get it" same with Flying!
A slight twist on the thread. I've noticed that when people find out that you fly they respond in one of three ways.
1) Most usual response. Oh! that must be expensive you must have loads of money
2) Isn't that dangerous!
3) What type? How many hours?
You can usually bet that You'll get along with type 3 people like a house on fire. Type 2's can usually be be brought round with a little charm and encouragement.
With type 1 people I find it best to make my excuses and leave before the desire to kill them overwhelms me.

25th May 2001, 18:36
I do for the sake of :
1. the big bucks http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/eek.gif
2. pulling the chicks :rolleyes:
3. the power trip http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/confused.gif

But, seriously, where I fly now, it's like being a paid tourist! That sure makes up for the above list of [email protected] The job DOES have its share of problems, but they're sooo different from the sh!t that normal folk have to contend with that its almost like being able to forget that the real world exists. Well, at least for a while each day! :)

Dispela olgeta samting i pekpek bilong bulmakau!

Big Red ' L '
26th May 2001, 02:58
.......it has its ups and downs.... :)

Its not the fall that kills you...Its the sudden stop.....

26th May 2001, 03:55
You guys think youve flown? felt real wind in your face?, tugging at your skin, pulling at your limbs, even think about moving an arm and you turn in an instant, duck your head down a little and youre on your back, then open up and if youre lucky theres some clouds to bust, if you aint lucky you get one more shot and if that dont work you got less than 10secs to write your memoirs. If you aint tried it yet then you should..cos you cant claim to know the air until you have.

26th May 2001, 09:02
That's falling Smaug, not flying, great fun and a huge adrenaline rush but not flying. The whole point of flying is the going up bit. It's a whole different thing. Now paragliding and hangliding there's flying in it's purest form, up as well as down.

compressor stall
26th May 2001, 13:46
Many years ago I had a quote cut out of a (non aviation) mag referring to pilots. It was translated form Italian i think??

It read (rather more poetically) something like:

People say that pilots are adventurous, but they like nothing more than to feel at home. They feel at home when they touch the sky.

Does this quote ring a bell to anyone? I'd like to get the original one as memory does not do the original justice.

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
William Blake

Hersham Boy
26th May 2001, 14:01
Very personal thing. Magic, though, innit?!

Onya, Goldfish - I'll give you a wave next time I'm going past on my way out to Edenbridge Reservoir ;)

I'm in the hi-fidelity first class traveling set and I think I need a Lear jet