Monday, December 8, 2014
Exploration of Own Design- Chris Ward
1).The following passage is where I feel my writing is at its best:
“The winds were out of the North at 20 knots (abbreviated “kts.”) or greater. This was beyond the limit of the little four seater high wing Cessna Skyhawk now on short final approach to land. A direct crosswind. A thunderstorm was approaching from the west at a brisk 36kts. My palms were sweaty as I struggled to keep the airplane on the center line. My feet were active on the rudders trying to keep the airplane pointing straight down the runway. As I inched the power out and I came into the landing flare, I felt like I was dancing my plane along the ever thin edge of sky. I touched down and added power. Back around for another touch and go. Lucky for me the wind was calm and the only pressure I had to deal with was the gaze of my flight instructor, family, and friends as I soloed an airplane for the first time.
As I leveled and made my turn downwind the runway, I took a chance to listen to the purr of the engine and take in the sights below me. The beautiful mid-eastern landscape stretched before me. Plumes of dust rose as farmers harvested their fields. The sun shined down and cast my shadow 1,000ft. beneath me. I was alone for the first time. The airplane seemed to want to fly forever without the added weight of my flight instructor in the right seat. I was truly alone. I pulled the power back and began the landing phase. I had 2 more landings to do of the 3 required for a students first solo. This time, when I was short final approach coming up on the beginning of the runway, I felt a sense of peace. I was a 30 year airline captain for Delta landing in London after a flight across the Northern Atlantic, as was my normal route. When I would land, I would hear the flight attendant come over the intercom and welcome the passengers to England. The local time was 8:33pm and the temperature was 7 degrees Celsius. I added power and went back around.
Only one more to do. The evening sun was beginning to set and I knew my time in this paradise was limited. It felt like driving over a freshly paved road the air was so smooth. As I approached the runway for the third and final time, my senses were alive. I was determined to make my last landing the best. I was returning from a 7 hour combat sortie over Iraq and my combat damaged fighter was tired. I was tired. I could hear my breathing over the intercom. The stress of the flight was wearing on me. My attention focused on the sight picture my training had taught me to look for. Greased it. You could not even hear the tires squeak as they went from 0-60 in the blink of an eye. I did it, I was now a pilot”.
This was the first bit of creative writing I thought I did well. I used story truth to describe my feelings and I feel like I left the reader with a thorough understanding of what I experienced. I was proud to share this with people.
Once a year in the summer, there is a gathering of airplanes so large that it has become an internationally recognized event. For one week, pilots camp under the wings of their airplanes and watch the world's largest airshow unfold. One might think that this is the Paris Airshow or one in New York. Instead it is quite the opposite. What has become the mecca of private, commercial, and military aviation is the "Airventure" airshow located in Oshkosh Wisconsin. The airshow is a product of the Experimental Aviation Association who started the gathering with only 30 airplanes originally. Since then it has grown to be the world's largest airshow and fly in. With over 15,000 airplanes and 500,000 visitors annually, the Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh turns into its own city. For this week, Oshkosh becomes the world's busiest airport, surpassing even JFK International in New York City in air traffic volume.
Every single day there is an afternoon airshow that showcases private, military, vintage, and experimental aircraft and historical demonstrations. From hot air balloons, to private 4 seaters, to aerobatic planes, to the most advanced fighter jet, along with the world's largest airliners and transports, Oshkosh is truly unique and a once in a life time experience. Most people are not even aware of the number of aircraft that exist and how many people are actually pilots. The purpose of the airshow is to unite the aviation community, spur new ideas, promote economic growth, and show the general public the reach and accessibility of aviation in their lives.
Aviation touches everyone's lives whether it be transporting goods, or flying a family to Florida for the holidays. Aviation is not what it used to be during the glory days of the 1960's and 1970's while the international space race was on the forefront of people's minds. Airventure helps to excite the nation to innovate and reignite the desire to explore and push the boundaries of what is originally thought possible.