I must tell you about the flying experience I had today but I simply do not know how to explain it. There are adjectives that I could use to describe the feeling that I get when sitting in a small plane going 130 miles per hour. Exciting or thrilling are words that don’t fit. Seeing a hawk or a flock of pelicans winging below is thought provoking. My birding experience is one of looking up at the undersides. Speeding over their topsides isn’t the same kind of viewing because there is no time to register the details, simply the silhouette which, come to think of it, is about all I do from below anyway. Roads, rivers, ravines and other landmarks seem no longer real but become the features of maps.
However it is not what I viewed that made the flight notable. Think about it. Up in the air – comfortable within steel, plastic, aluminum, plexiglass, not flapping my arms but in flight nonetheless as if I was the bird. Fabulous! Mind boggling! Leonardo da Vinci and no doubt other earlier dreamers tried to figure out how to accomplish the feat. Comic strips and science fiction came up with individual flight machines but none seem to try to imitate the complexity of the bird-wing feather manipulation. And that doesn’t appear to make any difference. Once physicists understood how air flow influenced uplift, designers took us up in the air. I’m confident they will keep us there. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the money mongers preferred to develop the technology of air machines instead of war machines?