Airplane Rides

As long as I am still in contact with the earth, I don’t mind airplane rides.  Because of various forms of necessity, I have had to learn to use airplanes as an optional means of transportation.

When I was a youngster if we heard an airplane overhead, everyone ran outside to look at it.  It was a rare occurrence.

The first electrician I worked for loved to fly.  He said he never felt good until he was up in the air.  Many mornings before he went to work he took his brother’s plane and flew around a bit.  One morning he offered to take me for a ride.  It was my first experience up in the air.

(To me it is a feeling similar to climbing a pole or ladder or being in a lift.  I am apprehensive all the while I’m up there.  But I swallow my fear and get the work done.  It is such a relief when I get back down on the ground.)

I asked my pilot boss what it feels like when there is rough weather.  (If you have a tendency towards air sickness this is a question best asked while on the ground.)  He said; “Like this.”  He then proceeded to make up and down waves, with the plane, in the air, while flying,  that resembled sine waves.

(For the sake of description, a sine wave depiction is used when drawing a representation of sound waves.  Now visualize the plane you are in performing a maneuver that looks like that.)

About the second time he finished his second “wave” I told him; “That’s enough!  I get it!  You can stop now!”

The next time I was airborne, I was working for a contractor with jobs all over eastern Montana.  Each of us electricians had a pick-up with radio communication.  One day I got a call saying there was a problem where I was needed about 40 miles away.  I was told to pull off onto an approach, grab my tools and I would be picked up by the company pilot.

The pilot landed on the gravel road and taxied over to my pick-up.  I got in and he took off.  This guy was an excellent pilot.  He had flown a fighter plane in W.W. II.  I think he could have landed on a rock pile.  I was completely relaxed while he was flying.  He was like an expert driver driving a wheeled vehicle down a well maintained road.

When we got to the job he landed in a cow pasture.  Our foreman came while I was working on the job so the pilot took off.  The foreman would get me back to my pick-up.

As the pilot left the pasture I watched him go.  He had to get enough lift to clear a fence at the end of the pasture.  As he flew away I called him on the radio.  I told him; “You had lots of room.  You cleared that fence by at least a foot.”

That was not my last airplane ride.