Two and a half years ago I put this site up to promote my work as an “Aviation & Space Writer.” But, as you can see on this site, focus moves, changes, and grows. During the last few months, I’ve come to realize I’m more of a commentator than a reporter. The facts are important—especially crucial in aviation—but I’m more interested in what higher perspectives mean, what we see and learn from our real and virtual aerial views. So here’s a summary of my current projects:
Jerry the Friend
My friend, Jerry the rocket scientist, passed away Tuesday morning. Saw him just a couple weeks before. He was fine. Old, as happens to all of us, but fine. Then suddenly gone.
Regina & I first connected with Jerry & Donna as fellow members of a fledgling church in northern California. They became both mom & dad and counselors to us, their lovely daughters as younger sisters. Jerry and I bonded over electronics, astronomy, and space travel. And I quickly learned he liked anything that flew. I gave him flight instruction through his solo flight.
Stopped at my favorite coffee shop for a bit of think and write time. Good coffee. Tasty pastries. Great service. No mystery why today, like most days, clutches of lovers, friends, colleagues and contacts cluster most tables, fill most chairs. The mood’s up. Most smile. Chatter burbles like a spring brook. Its bubbles froth into pleasant background easy to enjoy, or ignore, as I choose.
But today cheery grates, incongruous in light of what happened. How can they laugh? I want to rage & revenge, cry & hide, or both. The bad news? Just learned someone shot my good friend, Pastor Tim, yesterday afternoon. The good news? He’ll live—a miracle the medical folks say. The bullet stopped at his skull, providing fuel for life-long teasing about his hard head.
I first noticed it riding the airline back to Cleveland. A big turbo-fan engine hung beneath the wing just outside my window. Around its front, a single row of rivets connected the inlet ring to the rest of the engine cowling. Hundreds of of them set in precise formation.Their pattern revealed disciplined purpose, like a single beat keeping time. Other patterns in complex harmonies, reveal themselves only from unique perspectives. Like flying, for example.
I came to Wooster, Ohio, again. Met Don, again. Met the pert Pacer, again. High winds calmed, as they would again after the next hard blow. I flew the Pacer to Holmes County airport, again. Practiced takeoffs and landings, again. Refueled, again. Don flew back to Wooster, repeating a pattern every airplane owner knows—a first and last flight.
Some of you asked about the next episode in the Pacer Saga. Was all set to have it up last week, but …
A good friend from India arrived, giving me the honor of shepherding him to speaking engagements and meetings. He observed, “Everything is so clean.” And after some driving, “Everything is so orderly.” Then after more driving on country roads with 4-way stops at the intersections, “Everyone is so patient here.”
We drove into mountains for his first ever taste of snow. He’d seen it on the Himalayas from miles away, but never had it fall on him, nor even touched it. Took care of that.