Thursday, January 13, 2011
A fear of flying
I don't think I've ever made any great secret of the fact that I am a devout coward. In me there is never the "fight or flight" decision to be made. I will always opt for "flight" - unless of course, flight means actual flight in some type of machine. In the case where I have to choose between "fight" and actual "flight" I just feign death until the situation resolves itself.
I guess my fear of flying stems from the fact that I understand how gravity works. There is not much more to be said on that subject so instead I will share with you a few of my adventures when circumstances have forced me to abandon good sense and actually fly somewhere.
While working in the northern rockies I had to fly quite often. Now the normal flying that most of you civilized folks do is pretty safe. Runways are long, paved, quite smooth and usually very close to firetrucks, ambulances, and hospitals. Bush flying is quite the opposite.
Bush flying is usually done into strips that would barely pass for a cattle trail in most parts of the civilized world. Strips would make use of the natural openings in the forest and would seldom be straight, level or long enough. Mountain men seem to lose interest in building a strip shortly after they start on the project and tend to leave it up to the pilot to compensate for their own lack of industry when it comes to construction.
I should add that there was one upside to flying in the mountains. The strips that I flew in and out of were good in that they let me get closer to my spiritual self and I would routinely pick up a religion or two on approach to these strips. I had had to scour the world of theology to pick up new leads on deities that may be there to protect me on take off or landing. It was either religion or booze and most of my co-workers had dibs on the liquor cabinet so I turned elsewhere.
Nowadays I don't have much call to get into a small plane and hurl myself at some 300 meter strip of partially cleared land in the middle of a rock pile, consequently I find my spirituality waning somewhat. Perhaps I will take up snake juggling or something else to motivate my spiritual development. Til then, shalom.
Posted by Frank Ritcey at 12:07 PM