The Softer Side of Aviation

Flying was once very much a spiritual pursuit. To fly among the birds and clouds was to be closer to heaven. Pilots were regarded as heroes and passengers were “intrepid explorers” seeking exotic lands and people imagined only by the most open-minded of citizens. This “Spirit of Aviation” was enriched by such iconic works as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Wind, Sand and Stars and Earnest K. Gann’s Fate is the Hunter.

While flying is still exciting, the historically long life expectancy of today's pilots has demoted their status from “heroic” to “damn sexy”. At the same time, adventures come from visiting new airports rather than from engines failing at night in icy turbulent clouds over water, airfoils separating from airframes or co-pilots being eaten by cannibals. The romance is not completely gone, though. Spectacular sunsets, crystal clear vistas and cotton ball-like clouds are reminders of that distant time. Occasionally we capture these images for posterity. Yesterday was just such an occasion, so I offer the following as a tribute to the softer side of aviation:

My eyes welled with misty emotion as I was struck by the majesty of the picture before me. Only a week until St. Valentine’s Day, that most precious of commercial holidays when love is proven annually by purchasing boxed chocolates and finding that one greeting card which alone can express amorous feelings, the cosmos had chosen to paint a timeless memorial to peace and harmony. The specific detail of Long Beach Airport being chosen as a canvas was not lost. Yesterday proved to me, beyond any doubt, one irrefutable fact: aviation will save the universe. Happy Flying [caption id="attachment_564" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Rainbows, Hearts and Flying"][/caption]