Why do you love flying?

I've always wondered why there are aviators, and why there are not. For me, the mystery of flight has been with me since as far back as I can remember. There is no other activity that brings me as much satisfaction as piloting an aircraft. Many's the time I looked out of the windows of my aircraft at the world below, and felt so close to God, it was almost palpable. Just me and the Almighty, suspended in the air, looking out at the world around me. Unencumbered, nobody else around. It is, for me, the best way to relax and renew my mind. How about you?

I love to defy gravity!
1979 Arrow IV


  • I cannot remember a time when I did not want to fly, long before I ever thought I would be able to do so. My love of flying is built, in part, around stories and photos of my dad's experiences in WWII. I went with him when I was quite small and watched as he and a friend flew a silver T-6, with that big throaty radial engine, from a small airport in my hometown. Later, when I had obtained my driver's license, I drove myself to the airport in Peoria (where we had moved) and got my $5 introductory flight. I took several of those flights, Byerly Aviation used a Mooney at the time for these excursions around town. Life intervened, got my draft notice in the Spring of 1968,and plans pushed back. I enlisted in the Air Force and started actual lessons in 1969 while stationed at Ellsworth AFB in 150/172 airplanes. Later got to fly at Wheeler AFB, HI.
    My experiences and reactions are similar to Harley's but described somewhat differently. I enjoy the view, of course, but I also enjoy the fact that at that moment no one else is seeing exactly what I am seeing and that it is transitory not to be seen again. Especially some sunsets or sunrises. I feel privileged that I have the skill and ability to fly when I desire. I flew for years in other people's planes, having my own plane for the last 10+ years has been very special to me. Flying in Oklahoma makes every pilot the "king of the crosswind landing" but on those days when there is no wind and the air is smooth as glass it is extra special. Sometimes flying at MCA, just hanging it on the prop as it were suspended almost motionless above the ground is a real treat. My laptop wallpaper is a photo I took of a closely scattered layer just below me and I relive a that flight every time I open the computer. It is spiritual in its own special way. It seems that for me, flying was inevitable. My greatest gratitude was being able to fly my dad as PIC before he died. We took several trips and he always loved to fly with me, because I inherited that love of flying from him. Next Monday May 13, he would have been 102.

  • edited May 7

    Bill, thank you! I left out much of what influenced me in my youth. Hearing my dad talk about bombing missions in WWII, flying a B-17. He was a captain in the 100th bomb group. I would always ask him if he wanted to go flying, and he always declined. He would not fly with me. Finally one day, it got the best of me, I asked him if he was afraid to fly with me. He said, "No, I know you are a great pilot, but I want you to understand something." "You look at flying as something fun, you enjoy the feeling of being in the air, you love flying...for me, an airplane is something I used to kill people with." My mom showed me a letter he wrote her from England in WWII, in it, he said, "I'm tired of war, I'm tired of killing, I'm tired of seeing my friends die, I just want to come home, get on my saddle horse, and take care of my cattle."

    I love to defy gravity!
    1979 Arrow IV

  • Harley, I am very familiar with the 8th Air Force's 100th Bomb Grp. They flew the Regensburg/Schweinfurt missions and had horrible losses on the former. They could only muster 8 B-17s for Schweinfurt.
    My dad was not a pilot, but an Airborne Engineer in the SW Pacific, New Guinea to Japan. His unit 872d Engineer (Avn) Bn was flown in to create the runways for the arriving aircraft of the 5th Air Force.

  • There I was (because all good aviation stories start this way), a very cocky 16 year old boy with an appetite for adventure. This appetite gave me the wonderful opportunity to "volunteer" my services to the community during the summer of 1982. One warm afternoon, after completing my task of washing the cars at the Sheriff department, the Under-Sheriff offered to give me a ride home... just a quick stop first. That stop was at our local airport. We pulled up to a hangar and pulled out a Cessna 150. That was my first flight and I was so amazed that I only remember the radio was hard to hear through the speaker and I had never seen the mountains of Northern California look so mesmerizing. Wow, what a feeling, experience... That started it and gave me the focus for the rest of my life.
    Towards the end of that same summer, I got to right in a Hughes 500 and that's how I knew I wanted to fly helicopters. The following summer, as an Explorer Scout for the local police department, I got to fly in the back of a UH-1 Huey Helicopter and that's when I knew I wanted to fly helicopters for the Army.
    My 28 year career with the Army as a UH-60 helicopter pilot ended in 2012 and for a few years, I was sure my days of flying was finished. Then the day can that our local flying club had an open house and me and my wife decided to take the kids over for a ride and to look around. At the end of the flight, my wife looked at me and said "you should fly again".
    That was almost 3 years ago and now here I am with over 3500 flying hours, less than 10% in an airplane (not for long however) and an airplane owner. Who would have thought this possible for that adventurous teen of 1982. The view of the Great Smoky Mountains, the blueness of the Caribbean, the colors of autumn, the silver lining in every cloud... I can share that with my wife and kids... I'm not sure they completely understand the feeling it gives me but they know it makes me happy and is a permanent part of who I am.

    1979 Lance II

  • Cliff, that's a great story!!! You're right about the feeling it gives us as pilots. I tell people that there is nothing else that gives me the same level of satisfaction and joy as does piloting an aircraft.

    I love to defy gravity!
    1979 Arrow IV

  • This is why (it's on the back of my business card):

  • That's really good, Elio.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

Sign In or Register to comment.