A trip down memory lane....


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  • 2 weeks later...

As the title of this thread says....A trip down memory lane....

 
" You see them at airport terminals around the world. You see them in the morning early, sometimes at night. 
 
They come neatly uniformed and hatted, sleeves striped; wings over their left pocket; They show up looking fresh.
  
There's a brisk, young-old look of efficiency about them. They arrive fresh from home, from hotels, carrying suitcases, battered briefcases, bulging, with a wealth of technical information, data, filled with regulations, rules.
  
They know the new, harsh sheen of  Chicago 's O'Hare. They know the cluttered approaches to  Newark ; they know the tricky shuttle that is Rio; they know but do not relish the intricate instrument approaches to various foreign airports; they know the volcanoes all around  Guatemala. 
 
They respect foggy  San Francisco . They know the up-and-down walk to the gates at  Dallas , the  Texas  sparseness of  Abilene , the very narrow Berlin Corridor,  New Orleans ' sparkling terminal, the milling crowds at  Washington . They know  Butte  ,  Boston  , and  Beirut  . They appreciate  Miami 's perfect weather; they recognize the danger of an ice-slick runway at JFK.
 
They understand short runways, antiquated fire equipment, inadequate approach lighting, but there is one thing they will never comprehend: Complacency. 
 
They marvel at the exquisite good taste of hot coffee in  Anchorage  and a cold beer in  Guam . They vaguely remember the workhorse efficiency of the DC-3s, the reliability of the DC-4s and DC-6s, the trouble with the DC-7 and the propellers on Boeing 377s. They discuss the beauty of an old gal named Connie. They recognize the high shrill whine of a Viscount, the rumbling thrust of a DC-8 or 707 on a clearway takeoff from Haneda, and a Convair. The remoteness of the 747 cockpit. The roominess of the DC-10 and the wonderfully snug fit of a DC-9. They speak a language unknown to Webster. 
 
They discuss ALPA ( and ACPA ) EPRs, fans, mach and bogie swivels. And, strangely, such things as bugs, thumpers, crickets, thrust levers, throttles and CATs, but they are inclined to change the subject when the uninitiated approaches. 
 
They have tasted the characteristic loneliness of the sky, and occasionally the adrenaline of danger. They respect the unseen thing called turbulence; they know what it means to fight for self-control, to discipline one's senses.
 
They buy life insurance, but make no concession to the possibility of complete disaster, for they have uncommon faith in themselves, their crew and what they are doing. 
 
They concede the glamour is gone from flying. They deny a pilot is through at sixty. They know tomorrow, or the following night, something will come along they have never met before; they know flying requires perseverance and vigilance. They know they must practice, lest they retrograde. 
 
They realize why some wit once quipped: "Flying is year after year of monotony punctuated by seconds of stark terror." As a group, they defy mortality tables, yet approach semi-annual physical examinations with trepidation. They are individualistic, yet bonded together. They are family people. They are reputedly overpaid, yet entrusted with equipment worth millions. And entrusted with lives, countless lives, behind and below him. 
 
At times they are reverent: They have watched the Pacific sky turn purple at dusk and the stark beauty of sunrise over  Iceland  at the end of a polar crossing. They know the twinkling, jeweled beauty of  Los Angeles  at night; they have seen snow on the  Rockies. 
 
They remember the vast unending mat of green Amazon jungle, the twisting Silver road that is the father of waters, an ice cream cone called Fujiyama; the hump of Africa. Who can forget Everest from 100 miles away, or the ice fog in  Fairbanks in January?
 
They have watched natural and man-made satellites streak across a starry sky, seen the clear, deep blue of the stratosphere, felt the incalculable force of the heavens. They have marveled at sun-streaked evenings, dappled earth, velvet night, spun silver clouds, sculptured cumulus: God's weather. They have viewed the Northern Lights, a wilderness of sky, a pilot's halo, a bomber's moon, horizontal rain and snow, contrails and St Elmo's Fire. 
 
Only an aviator experiences all these.
 
It is their world.  It once was mine. 

It will be missed, forever"

Edited by Jaydee
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