Tag Archives: aviation

A WP Anniversary

Yesterday WP sent me this.

I forgot that it was my anniversary. For the most part, blogging has been fun and I have “met” many great people, some of whom I feel as if I know.

A flower from my M.

Unfortunately, only a very few of the bloggers that I started following in those early days are still here, but others have come along, and the life wheel has continued turning.

An Okanagan willow tree.

I have also changed. I started out (very rustily) writing about narcissism, but over the years I gradually dropped it and now haven’t written about it for a long time.

Lots of other changes occurred during these years. My M and I had some significant career changes, we moved from one province to another, and I took on a last big career job in the north while maintaining our Okanagan home. M retired. We will be moving again next month, but this time, only to the other end of town. We have been busy!

Flying. It’s the best.

I will soon be retiring myself; in fact I am in my last 18 months of formal working time.

So what’s up 18 months from now? We’ll be starting work on a book about local wine, and I’ll spend some leisure time in a Cessna. It’s exciting, and I’m looking forward to the next chapters. 🙂


Pilot’s Delight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence.

~ from High Flight by John Gillespie Magee

Magee (1922-41) fought and died in the Second World War; he was half-American, born in China, and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Magee wrote ‘High Flight’, a sonnet, about the exhilarating experience of flying through the air in a fighter-plane. Magee was killed in an accidental mid-air collision over England in 1941; his poem gained a new lease on life when then President Ronald Reagan quoted from it following the Challenger disaster in 1986.

To Recline or not to Recline?

I have done a lot of flying. As a pilot or passenger, I’ve spent loads of time in airplanes, both large and small. I am intimately acquainted with how cramped the environment is and getting into the pilot’s seat often feels a bit like I’m a puzzle piece squeezing into my slot.

I’ve banged my knees, whacked my head, knocked my elbows and thumped myself in innumerable other places getting in and out of pilot seats and airplanes. They are not built to be places of sprawling comfort. Anyone who has ever been on an airplane of any size knows that.

So, what about the argument around seats? That is, do you recline or don’t you?

I don’t recline. Neither does my 191 cm (6 ft 3 in) husband. And frankly, I get a little irritated when others do, especially if I’m trying to use my little table for whatever reason: working, eating, sleeping (yes, I sometimes sleep on the table). I don’t want a strange person in my lap, and I’m sure the people behind me don’t want me in their laps.

We’re all in this cramped space together, so let’s try to be as respectful and careful with each other as we can. That’s how I see it, anyway.

However, that’s often not how these things go.

Recently, a man aboard a commercial flight in the US began banging on the seat of the person ahead of him because she had reclined. Here’s the article:


Part of the problem is that airlines have crammed people in, but I also understand about the narrow margins on which airlines operate. And to be fair, this has been a problem for many, many years. I remember my mother complaining about the “recliners” when I was a child.

What is your opinion? Should airlines remove the recline function on airplane seats? Should we avoid using the recline function out of respect for our flight mates?

An Airplane Story

As Monty Python used to say …

And now for something completely different.

Once upon a time, there was a pilot who had to fly an airplane very far, far north.

The pilot had done lots of flying before, but not very far, far north.

The pilot was looking forward to this trip.

On the morning of the flight, the pilot was up early in the dark darkness of the northern winter. It was very cold, but the airplane was in a warm hangar.

The pilot got the airplane ready as passengers gathered in the waiting room with their bags, boxes, a bunch of freight, two hamsters and one dog.

Now, this dog had to travel in the passenger cabin because … well, because there’s no freight compartment on this particular aircraft type.

This airplane is what’s called a combi – it carries a mix of passengers and freight, all on one level.

The pilot went inside to talk to the owner of this dog. It was a really big dog. A Great Dane. Its hair was really short and it was wearing a coat. It looked cold, miserable and scared.

It was shivering and shaking.

The pilot asked the owner to make sure that the dog had done its business before getting aboard.

It was a three hour flight; it’s not like there would a place to pull over and stop.

The owner assured the pilot that the dog had pooped, peed and burped.

Okay, thought the pilot. Let’s load and get this show on the road, so to speak.

40 minutes later, all was loaded and everyone was taxiing along just as the sun was coming up over a northern winter horizon.

The pilot applied power and started the take-off roll.

A satisfying back pressure as the aircraft lifted off …

Reaching altitude … settling in … And then, and then …

What is that God-awful stench?

If you took one of Lebron James’s basketball shoes after a number of heavy practises, stuck it in a vat of boiled cabbage, buried it under a chicken coop, and left it there for several weeks … then maybe you can imagine this malodorous vapour.

The pilot sent the co-pilot back to investigate.

He came scurrying back, turned green and promptly threw up all over the radios.

Chunks started to befoul the throttle levers as they slowly slid down the panel.

The pilot, floating by now on the ghastliest sea of odiferous gases, directed the co-pilot to do what he could to clean up himself and the cockpit.

With the autopilot on, the pilot went back to take a look, and … almost threw up too.

For there in the first row, the very large Great Dane had pooped a mutant-sized mound of poo. And was sort of standing in it. A baby elephant would have been proud.

The owner sat there, unreactive as the entire cabin starting collapsing into various stages of tummy trouble. He pretended not to notice.

Retching slightly, the pilot told the owner to clean up the mess.

“With what?” he snarled, “My bare hands?”

“If you have to, yes! Don’t you have any poo bags?” the pilot snarled back. “My co-pilot is sitting up there with a major case of the heaves. Now start cleaning this up!”

“I don’t have anything to put it in. I don’t have anything to pick it up with. What am I supposed to do?”

But a chorus, a groundswell, began from the back of the plane. Items starting finding their way to the front. Bags, hand sanitizers, towels and even a plastic spoon.

Sometimes, on your journey through life, you encounter twits with giant mounds of poo. But often, there are ordinary people who will help out with whatever they have, and will give you the hand sanitizer out of their pockets.

(And everyone lived to happily disembark the poo plane.)

You? What poo plane have you had in your life?