By lex, on June 13th, 2008
Last night was another sleepless affair for your correspondent. Was up at 0330 galling myself over this and that. I know the odds, and the way through. If I’d stayed abed I’d only have tossed and turned and made it harder on the Hobbit. Get up, “change the channel” and come back when you feel it, said I.
Taildraggers have been much in my mind of late. The idea of putting the girls through college in eight years and then moving outback to fly sports in and out of austere strips and river banks has a compelling emotional appeal.
“Super Cubs,” people will say, but for my own part I’ve taken rather a shine to the Aviat Husky. Maybe it’s the fore and aft configuration, or maybe it’s the control stick and bulkhead mounted throttle (as opposed to a yoke and dashboard throttle, the filthy innovations).
I know it cannot be the $200k+ price tag.
Maybe it’s a pilot thing? But I don’t spend much time mooning over the exteriors of dream airplanes. I like looking at the office. And this one is clean, uncluttered, functional. I like it.
I know next to nothing about general aviation aircraft. But this is the 21st Century, so everything is out there. There’s a backcountry forum and website that talks about the virtues and vices of flying high wing aircraft low to the ground. You’ll learn about such things as “moose stalls” that apparently can strike at the unwary pilot flying precise circles in calm air.
On thing led to another and I stumbled on to the weblog of Shaun Lunt, a 33-year old anesthesiologist from Loma Linda with a passion for Super Cubs and Alaskan backcountry landings. And a brilliant eye as a photographer.
I recommend you go to his blog and see what he saw. The things he wanted to see. The care he took sharing them with the rest of us.
Then think about this: The man augered in near Jack Smith’s Bay in Alaska, trailing an instructor and friend. Thirty-three years old forever, and a damned shame.
It’s something worth keeping in mind. In time, a pilot will come to believe himself in charge. He’ll think that he controls the fluid through which he moves by controlling the machine that parts it. He’ll come to believe that he’s earned a right to be there, rather than a conditional permission.
We are reminded: It isn’t so.