Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 4 July 2008

With a car, you can always park

Driving a car is mundane - a two-dimensional experience. Planes are three- if not four-dimensional since time also enters the frame. Flight is transient, limited by the fuel carried. Running out of fuel means running out of time.

I've always over-admired people who could fly planes. The technical requirements (especially navigation) fascinated me but I never took it further. Successful flying, like the price of freedom, depends on eternal vigilance. I imagined my mind wandering; buying the farm while pondering Thomas Pynchon.

I bought Microsoft Flight Simulator and sought mightily to land the Cessna at Meigs Field in Chicago. No go. In tutorial mode I found myself sweating at the injunctions of the instructor even though I was only facing a computer regurgitating advice pre-written years before by someone in Washington state.

Later, on a journalistic trip, I sat by the pilot of a light plane as he made his approach to - I think - Darlington airport. I could see the airfield straight ahead. What shocked me was our heading, way to the left of the runway centreline. Yet, as we got nearer, our heading and the centreline converged. Crosswinds, of course. Confirmation that I don't have the temperament for those extra dimensions.

1 comment:

Plutarch said...

On a similar occasion once returning from a trip to France, the pilot said to me as we approached Biggin Hill: "Would you mind looking out for other planes as we come into land,too many amateur pilots use this air port."