Something That Made Me Go Wow

I thought about saying Wahoo instead of wow to quote one of my favorite movies but it didn’t seem quite right.

I’m still grounded but got to go out to a new dropzone today that was up in the midst of some incredible mountains.  Obviously what made it even better was the sight of two C-130s flying up the valley towards us.


We could hear them coming on the radio but it was even more awesome to see them come swinging around the corner through this the tight valley you can see in the back of the picture.  Then they flew nice and low over our heads with the sound of their engines echoing off the cliffs around us.

I know I sound like a broken record, but few things make me happier than the sight of a C-130 in flight.

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I’m Happy Just Being Around Planes

The last two days I have been able to go out to the dropzone and help out on the ground supporting our planes that were flying.  It is not glamorous work, nor is it particularly difficult work, but it involves planes so I am in.

You actually spend a lot of time just sitting there waiting for the planes to come but when they do it is so much fun to see the action happen.


I need stuff like this to keep my spirits up while I wait to be able to fly.  With that being said, it is hard to be down when you spend the day outside under a bluebird sky, and not at a desk.

Continuing on the C-130

Today is one of those truly bittersweet days in life.

For the last five years I have had the distinct pleasure of flying on the C-130H.  It is an historic aircraft that has played an important role in not only the wars of the past 60 years, but the humanitarian disasters that have occurred all over the world.

To be honest, when I first started nav school I wanted nothing to do with the C-130, but that was out of complete ignorance.  It did not take me long to fall in love with her, which is why I am so sad to see her leave the active duty Air Force forever.

It truly is the end of an era and a shift in the Air Force that means things will never be the same.  While I have my own biased views, there is no denying the advances in technology that have made this shift possible.

Swearing In

Fortunately, my own selfish desires will continue to be satisfied as I am now a member of the 192nd Airlift Squadron in the Nevada Air National Guard.  Just going in today and seeing those beautiful birds out on the ramp brought joy to my heart.  I haven’t flown in over a month so I am dying to get back up in the air.

I try not to write about it too often here, but the depths of my passion for this plane and her mission can be found on my other blog, aviationguy.com.

 

Safety When I Fly

In the modern world, flying is so darn safe that we honestly take it for granted.  I could look up specific numbers about exactly how safe it is but that is not my purpose here today.

As someone who flies for a living, I have a vested interest in ensuring that flying is safe, which it largely is.  Airlines fly millions of passengers everyday with only rare situations of dramatic safety issues.  The safety of military flying is even that much higher, despite our increased risk, because of all the extra time we put into safety.

So what does any of this have to do with being grateful?  I guess the fact that I fly all the time and arrive back home to my family safely is what I am truly grateful for.

I recently had a flight where we landed with eight different write-ups for maintenance to take care of.  As much as I hate leaving them that much work, it is a credit to their continued diligence that not a single one of those things was so vital that we weren’t able to finish our mission.

Stuff is going to break on a forty year old plane, that’s just the way it is.  However, the strict standards that we adhere to in maintenance and mission planning and preparation of everyone involved, ensure that I continue to make it home safely at night.

Earlier today I had a discussion on Twitter about what to tell your kids as they get older and start to realize how dangerous your job can be flying.  I guess I won’t know the results of my efforts until my kids get older, but I am always honest with them about how much time and preparation we put into what we do.  That it is still dangerous, but we mitigate those risks through our efforts.

That seems to be enough to placate them now, but I know my safety standards will never change so I hope they will understand all I am doing to make sure I am safe.

Safety is one of those things I think we take for granted, until an accident happens, but like many other aviators I know personally, I will always be grateful for my safety when flying, and I will forever remain diligent to ensure I remain that safe.

What are you grateful for?

A Beautiful Sunset

This is something that I think most people enjoy, at least at some point in their lives.  Watching a beautiful sunset, even if only for a minute, can go a long ways towards making it a good day.


Some of my fondest memories from high school are sitting on a park bench overlooking the Salt Lake Valley and watching the sunset with my girlfriend.  It didn’t need to be anything other than that to be a great evening.While I lived in San Diego, I spent many an evening riding my motorcycle along the coast, or pulling off the road to sit on the beach and watch the sunset.  It is just such a peaceful time to relax and rejuvenate.  
Now that I get to fly regularly I get to see some of the most beautiful sunsets ever, from the air.  Being in the front of the plane provides for some incredible views in many  of the different places I have visited.

I think one of the best things about sunsets is that everyone gets to enjoy them.  It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, what country you live in, if you are healthy or sick.  The beauty of a sunset is something that can literally be enjoyed by anyone, if they only care enough to look.I will forever enjoy the peace that can come at the end of a long day, which is why I am grateful for beautiful sunsets.
What are you grateful for?

The C-130H Hercules

C-130 sunsetDon’t tell my wife, but I have been having a secret love affair for the past five years.  Actually, it’s not a secret, she knows.  That’s right, I am in love with a 100,000 pound piece of pure engineering genius.

Not only that, but she is an older woman (women?).  My current loves are all 43 years old, but some of their sisters are over 60.

Enough with the secrecy, I am in love with the C-130H Hercules…oh wait, it was in the title.

In all seriousness, I genuinely do love this amazing airplane.  There are not really enough positive words to express my affection for her.  To be totally honest and straightforward, I thought I didn’t want to be on a C-130 when I first became a navigator, but after this five year love affair, I can’t imagine being with anyone else.

The C-130 is definitely not the flashiest plane in the Air Force inventory.  It doesn’t fly the fastest, or the highest.  It can’t be refueled in the air (those crazy special operations variants can), and it makes its living executing what we affectionately call, trash hauling.

What it can do is fly low to the ground and deliver cargo to those who need it.  That may be troops on the ground, or it may be survivors of a hurricane or earthquake.  We can also land at remote, unimproved landing strips, which means it is the one that brings the first people in to get things ready for everyone else.

I really could go on and on extolling her virtues, but it is probably easier to just redirect you to my other blog where I do so on a regular basis: AviationGuy.com.  Also please enjoy the video below.

I know I haven’t gotten to fly her in far too long, and maybe it is just absence making the heart grow fonder, but today I am super grateful for the C-130H Hercules.

What are you grateful for?

 

Great Writers

Living without a TV for a few weeks now has really helped me in my endeavor to read more.  It is so much easier to channel surf than it is to find a great piece of writing to read, but if TV is not an option it makes it a lot easier to choose.

While I do enjoy a good book from the likes of Tom Clancy, Orson Scott Card, or JK Rowling, I have found a new love for non-fiction writers of both books and blogs that have changed my life in many ways.  I would like to share some of them with you now.

Airplanes

The first group of writers are all people that write about airplanes or aviation in some way.  As this is my greatest passion, I had to include them amongst my favorite writers.

David Parker Brown is the founder and editor in chief of Airline Reporter which is a great site that focuses on the commercial airline industry, but also branches out for some incredibly unique experiences related to aviation.  What I love about David, is how his passion comes out in his writing.  You can literally feel the excitement in the words that he writes.

Jennifer writes the Tales from the Terminal blog, and is one of the most infectious writers I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  She is an accountant that works at an airport and takes every chance she gets to look at airplanes.  Whether you like planes or not, you should really check out her stuff because it is incredibly real and entertaining.

Ron Rapp is a corporate pilot that writes the House of Rapp blog.  He has flown all different types of aircraft and always shares unique perspectives about the different parts of the industry that many people don’t even think about.

Other stuff

That’s right, only airplanes are special enough to get their own section.

Victor E. Frankl is the author of Man’s Search for Meaning which has completely changed the way I look at life.  He is an Auschwitz survivor that is also a psychiatrist.  The biggest message that I found from his book is that you will never find a meaning to your life in yourself, you can only find it in other people and making their lives better.

James Altucher is the author of Choose Yourself, as well as a bunch of other great books that you can get both on Amazon, and Kindle Unlimited if you are subscribed to that wonderful service.  He is a strong advocate for people taking charge of their own lives and looking for new ways to find success and happiness in this life.  He also has an amazing podcast where he interviews successful people and learns how they did it.

Marcus Aurelius wrote an outstanding book entitled Meditations that is filled with unique ideas and insights.  It is by no means a book that you can just breeze through so I am still working on it, but there are a ton of thoughts that really ring true with me.

Charlie Hoehn wrote a great book entitled Play it Away that talks about how much we are losing when we stop playing as adults.  Playing actually pulled him out of a major rut that he fell into, and is now a part of his everyday routine.  It really is a unique viewpoint and provides lots of great suggestions.

I really could keep going and going, but these are some of my favorites recently.  I have included links to their Twitter accounts where applicable (sorry, so Twitter for the former roman emperor) because they also tweet a lot of good info as well.

I realize that these areas will not interest everybody out there, but even if they don’t, I would encourage you to find your own writers that you find phenomenal.

I mentioned Kindle Unlimited earlier, and it is totally worth it if you want to try and read more.  There are tons of books out there that you can read for a small monthly charge now, and it is not just old classics.  I recently re-read all of the Harry Potter books on there, and have read many of James Altucher’s books there as well.

The point is that there are tons of great writers out there putting out a lot of great content, and if you aren’t taking advantage of it, you are missing out.

I have had a lot of extra free-time recently, and while I have squandered a fair amount playing useless video games, I have also been enjoying the offerings of people who know way more than I do, which is why today I am grateful for great writers.

Who is your favorite writer?  What are you grateful for?