Blogging in Formation: Solo!

#blogformation #blog #avgeek #aviation

It’s Blogging in Formation Week—Posts by your favorite Pilot-Bloggers!

This month’s theme:

SOLO!

And, speaking of solo, I’d like to introduce to you a young man who is about to

embark on an incredible adventure:

 

19-year old MIT student Matt Guthmiller hopes to become the youngest person ever to

fly solo around the world!

As you all know, 50% of all proceeds from my novels go to two orphan charities, flyingkitesglobal.org and warmblankets.org

Matt G screen

19-year-old pilot Matt Guthmiller

 

Well, Matt is trying to raise money for a good cause as well: code.org,

a nonprofit focused on making computer science education available in K-12 schools!

 

Join me in donating to his worthy cause! Visit his site, Limitless Horizons, at: http://www.limitless-horizons.org

To Like his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/LimitlessHz

Follow his globetrotting adventures on Twitter at the handle: @LimitlessHz

To read more about Matt and his adventures, go to http://www.limitless-horizons.org/about-us/#meet-matt

And Now . . .

 

JUDGEMENT DAY HATH COME!
Repost from 10/3/12

————————
“Only instinct flew the plane; my brain took a vacation.”
————————

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A 17-year old boy and his plane…
My instructor, John P., is now a senior captain at Southwest Airlines
Oh!
I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth…*

Here I sat within grasp of my ultimate dream—to solo. From childhood I had longed for this day. But until now, I had never once thought of the risk.

Blogging,in,formation,capn,aux,captain,avgeek,airline,solo,pilot,cockpit,airline
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings…
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The tarmac, hot from the Arizona sun, squished under my feet as I cautiously approached the airplane: old Six Niner Tango, the faithful Cessna 152 that endured my skidding turns, tolerated my botched stalls and bounced merrily back from my pancaked landings.

Now this docile, forgiving plane seemed to mutate into a hideous, sinister behemoth, a flying dragon ready to consume any pompous pilot who challenged her.


Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds…


Mentally unsheathing my broadsword, I performed the preflight inspection.

————————
I longed to join the “There I Wuz!” pilots in the airport lounge.
But I couldn’t until I’d actually “been there.”
————————

I went up with my instructor, John P., for three touch and goes. Just my luck:  flawless—or, as flawless as a teenage student pilot with a whopping ten hours under his belt can muster.

Blogging,in,formation,capn,aux,captain,avgeek,airline,solo,pilot,cockpit,airline

 

and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of …

We taxied in and stopped at the base of the control tower, engine idling. 

“Well Eric,” John shouted above the din of the Lycoming piston engine, “you’re ripe ‘n ready. Feel lucky?”

I suppressed a sudden urge to join the “There I Wuz!” crowd of pilot types in the airport lounge.  But I knew I couldn’t rub elbows with their ranks until I actually had “been there.”

“Yes,” I squeaked.

Blogging,in,formation,capn,aux,captain,avgeek,airline,solo,pilot,cockpit,airline

 

wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence…




John signed off my logbook with the notation, “Endorsed for solo flight,”** then hopped out.

  Squinting against the prop blast, he slapped the door closed, gave me the pilots’ age-old “thumbs up” sign then scurried off.

Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

I held the mike to my lips.

“L-Litchfield Ground, um, Cessna Six Niner Tango ready to taxi.”

“Cessna Six Niner Tango, Litchfield Ground, taxi to runway three,” came the reply, a hint of amusement in the controller’s voice.

I felt his binoculars trained on me. I imagined him calling his ATC buddies up from the break room to witness my airshow.

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It was a long, slow taxi to the end of the runway. Plenty of time to stew in thought and wallow in self-doubt.  I could still turn back!  Save my hide if not my face.

 

Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace…

Perhaps it was the brave fool that lives inside all of us that persuaded me to go on. I guess the whole concept of the hero is to tackle one’s fears at full charge and destroy them. But I wasn’t doing this for the glory. I was doing it for me. Oh, to slip the surly bonds of earth!  To free the shackles that enslave us from birth, that few escape!

I could imagine those shackles around my ankles right now, jingling like Christmas bells as I shook.

————————
I called, “Ready for takeoff.”
Ready, hell!  I could barely move!
————————

I taxied up to the hold line and called, “Ready for takeoff.”

Ready, hell!  I could barely move!  It was all I could do to breathe.

Blogging,in,formation,capn,aux,captain,avgeek,airline,solo,pilot,cockpit,airline

Where never lark, or ever eagle flew…

“Cessna Six Niner Tango, left-closed traffic approved, cleared for takeoff.”

I clicked the mike button twice in reply, taxied into position . . . and hit the throttle.

Blogging,in,formation,capn,aux,captain,avgeek,airline,solo,pilot,cockpit,airline
And, while with silent,
lifting mind I’ve trod . . .


It’s a funny feeling that comes when you know you’re committed to something, like diving off the high board into freezing water or walking onto stage on cue, a thousand people watching.


It’s sort of a morbid feeling of foolishness. Your mind panics at the critical moment and screams, “My God, what am I doing? How stupid could I be?” Followed quickly by, “Too late! I hope there is life after death!”

The high untrespassed sanctity of space . . .

That’s what I felt as I rotated. My brain overloaded in a confused mass of emotion—then short-circuited. The instant the wheels left the ground my mind went blank. The universe sailed silently by.  Only instinct flew the plane; my brain took a vacation.

Put out my hand . . .

I had met my dream.

and touched the face of God.

It seems a paradox that one must first drown in fear before reaching that personal nirvana. As the Steve Miller song goes, “You’ve got to go through hell before you get to heaven.”

 

Love-Story-1Ask any pilot what flying is like.  He’ll smile wistfully, look off to the horizon with gleaming eyes and spout garbled poetry about freedom, beauty, and life.

You’ve heard it all before but can’t understand. That is because it is truly indescribable; it has to be experienced.


That day, I experienced. That day, I earned my seat at the “There I Wuz!” table.

That day, I slipped the surly bonds of earth 

and touched the face of God.

….Even if my first solo landing was a three-bouncer.

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—————————————————————————

*“High Flight,”  John Gillespie  Magee, Jr.

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John Gillespie Magee, Jr.



Wiki on J.G.M.Jr.


Incredible story about J.G.M. Jr. and his epic poem


Cool video with the poem




High Flight

by John Gillespie  Magee, Jr.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on 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 ever 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.

**My first flying job—typical in this biz—was also as a flight instructor.  Over six years, I endorsed dozens of fledgeling pilots to solo, many of whom continued on to receive their Private Pilot certificates, and more.  Several are now full-fledged airline pilots.

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Trivial addendum:  the first thing I ever actually flew was a hang glider at age 15…I’m so glad MY kids weren’t fool enough to want to do that at that age!!!

_________________________

 
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An “older, wiser” (age 25!) Cap’nAux flying the Alaska bush…
but that’s another story—and novel!
(Check the link above for the novel; read the May edition of 
Airways Magazine to hear the true story!!)

—  —  —  —

Blogging,in,formation,capn,aux,captain,avgeek,airline,solo,pilot,cockpit,airlineApril 1: Smart Flight Training – Andrew Hartley

             tallyone.com  – Rob Burgon

April 2: Flight to Success – Karlene Petitt
           project7alpha.com – Chip Shanle

April 3: House of Rapp – Ron Rapp

Adventures of Cap’n Aux – Eric Auxier

April. 4: iFLYblog – Brent Owens
  Aviation Author – Mark L. Berry

Cap’n Aux Blogging in Formation Posts

—  —  —  —  —

LINED UP AND WAITING

Departing April 10

Dealing with Passengers, Part III

“Welcome Aboard! Make my Day.”

—  —  —  —  —

HOLDING SHORT

Departing April 17

So, you wanna be an airline pilot?

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Cap’n Aux answers your Q’s on how to get to the majors!

—  —  —  —  —

NOW BOARDING

Departing April 24

Dealing with Passengers, Part IV

FlightAttendant-1

Guest post:

A view from the other side of the kevlar door!