Life is always pleasant at 2500 feet. At one-half mile in the air you see things differently than on the ground. For one, you can see farther. What seems like a long distance on the ground is easily visible in the air. Distance seemingly shrinks and you can sense how closely related, interrelated things are truly. Differences vanish and unimportant aspects fade. It’s simply me, floating through space and time with my favorite artist playing through the headset, no unimportant details to contemplate. Is the engine’s drone familiar? Are the oil temperature and pressure in the green? Is the sky ahead clear with no signs of nasty weather? Do I have enough gas? If yes, then enjoy the time, it won’t last long and soon you’ll be on the ground, reality once more controlling. And so it is in the air.
I am a fair-weather pilot. Although trained to fly through the clouds using the ship’s instruments to navigate and find my way, I fly only in clear weather. If I can’t see beyond the windshield, I remain attached to terra firma. One reason is my equipment. Although the plane is equipped to fly in the clouds, it has little in the way of ice protection. Clouds are water vaper which can condense on the plane’s wing’s and if the condensation occurs in sub-freezing temperatures, ice will form. The ice accumulation changes the wings shape, potentially rendering them unable to provide lift while simultaneously increasing the plane’s weight. Increased weight requires additional thrust needed to stay airborne, but the thrust provided by the engine is fixed. Both unwelcome developments can quickly change the day to not so pleasant. In addition to limited equipment, my skill is limited. Although I have almost 2000 hours flying, I have little time in the clouds Without exercise muscles atrophy. Even with practice, my skillset is limited and so I stay out of the clouds.
Flying relaxes me. Once in the air, I focus on the present. I know my current location, my destination and airspeed, and the time of arrival. What happens along the way will be evaluated, digested and any needed changes will be decided only after careful consideration. Except for fire, nothing requires immediate action without thought and the more consequential the action, the more thought needs be had. Minor issues can be made into major problems without thinking things through or “keeping one’s head”. The phrase that is often repeated is to plan the flight and fly the plan.
When flying passengers, I often find them uncomfortable or nervous at interesting times. The vast majority of aviation mishaps occur in close proximity to an airport. More accidents happen on landing, but more fatal accidents are on take-off and generally, turbulence is simply not a safety concern. Yet I find passengers the most uncomfortable when the plane bumps around in the air and little planes always bounce while flying. I’ve also observed passengers to be more on edge during landings than on take-off. I think part of this is how we are wired as humans. We have inhabited this planet for over 200,000 years, yet powered flight has been around for less than 120 years. I think that maybe our brains are not hardwired for flight.
Similarly, I think our minds are not pre-programmed for investing. Many wish to be fair weather investors. They enjoy the investment process as asset values go up, but shy away when the markets turn choppy. Not creating a sound plan to follow, reacting on impulse, and not keeping their heads or thinking through their reactions to market developments. Many worry about the choppy markets without truly understanding the real issue is inflation adjusted cash flow long into the future. Maybe an experienced pilot is truly who is needed to guide them to their destination.
As always, we thank you for your business and for your continued trust.
Jack P. Cannata