Hello and Happy New Year everyone! It has been a while since I posted and I have received a few requests to start writing again. I have been busy getting the permits to rebuild my house that burned down this past summer and helping my girlfriend with her terminal father who just passed away.
It seems odd that at the same time, I was trying to bring life back to a destroyed home and was helping a good man leave this life. His name was John and he led a full and fast life. He was lucky to have a loving and compassionate daughter who was with him as he took his last breath. We should all be fortunate enough to go that way.
I have been flying for over two decades and with that passage of time a few of my fellow aviators have died doing what they loved most, flying. I was young and inexperienced when the first pilot died. He was a student pilot flying solo and lost control of his jet in one of the local training areas. There was Frank who flew into the ground, at night, in an F-16. Dave was on a training flight in a C-130 on a sunny day, when at low level, gusty winds took part of the wing off.... they never had a chance. Mitch was flying an F-4 that got too low on a low level flight. There are others and time has diminished the shock of hearing these tragic stories.
There is a poem that is often read at a pilots' memorial. It was written by an American pilot flying the Supermarine Spitfire in England, at the beginning of WW II . It was during a test flight up to 30,000 feet in a new Spitfire 5 that the inspiration came to him and he wrote this poem. Like my fellow aviators above, he too died doing what he loved most. He was 19 years old. The poem is called "High Flight".
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew-
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
No 412 Squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December, 1941
Be Safe, FlyGuy.