Using the words of another

This flying malarkey is rather odd, you know. For a start, it’s a world populated almost exclusively by males – I’d say men but let’s be honest, it’s all about the boys with toys.

I’ve been getting involved with the flying for just under year, and in all that time I’ve met one woman who was piloting or learning to pilot. And the only female voice I’ve heard on 128.30 belonged to the same woman. While I’ve heard dozens of men and met a fair few of them too.

Another way that it’s odd is in it’s lack of a real point; yes the views are amazing and the sensation of flying is not something that I think I’ll ever get bored of, but it’s hard to put a dollar value on views and sensations, yet it’s painfully easy to put a value on each hour in the air. Which is why most of the males involved are somewhat elusive when asked by wives/significant others/taxmen just how much it’s costing.

And then there’s the difficulty of trying to explain why you like it; you’re clearly not going to be using it to get from A to B too regularly, and it’s not like you’re going to suddenly walk into a £125,000 a year job as a test pilot. It’s just something that is quite hard work, that you pay for, and provides an immense amount of satisfaction.

But since I’ve no way with words, allow me to steal some from James May, from last month’s TG Magazine.

Light aviation is simply a hobby, and flight is something that has fascinated me continuously, ever since I first started fooling around with bits of balsa wood sheet in the back garden. Nerdy as it may seem, I love the whole science of flight; its dependence on a few immutable and easily understood laws of physics that can be demonstrated with nothing more than pieces of paper. Flight in a winged heavier-than-air machine is as natural as buoyancy is to a ping-pong ball tossed into a bucket of water, and not the miracle that so many people imagine it to be.

But once you’re up there, it doesn’t half feel like one.

Leaving aside two small things (1. I didn’t use balsa wood, I played with paper planes and cloth parachutes instead and 2. the laws of physics involved with rotary wing aviation is a little more complicated), that’s exactly how I feel.

I just can’t say it as well.

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