From the outset, one of my primary objectives has been to share with visitors bits and pieces of a four-decade career as a professional pilot. Initially, I thought my love of writing provided the core motivation, but as I look back through the years, I found another.
To the best of my knowledge, I am the only member of my high school graduation class who made a career of the military. During my four years of college outside of Texas and twenty years as a fighter pilot, I never spent much time back home. Whenever I’d visit my parents in Dallas, I always tried to connect with my buddies from childhood, most of whom had returned there to build their careers. They might see each other professionally or socially on a regular basis, so my visits with them tended to be individual “catch up” sessions over lunch. Often I’d meet them at their places of business, and come away with at least a general idea of what they did from day to day to earn a living.
All during those years, I felt a pervasive disappointment that I couldn’t show them what I did. I could tell them about it, of course, and there’s a saying: “Put one pilot in a room, and all anybody gets to talk about is flying.” And although I probably did my fair share of hijacking conversations, talking about flying a fighter cannot begin to illustrate what it’s really like.
Blogging about it can’t either, but that’s not going to prevent me from trying. The “Words on My Wing” logbook is dedicated to non-fiction, and I intend to fill it with a comprehensive verbal picture of my military career. And although I spent an additional twenty years in commercial and private corporate aviation, much less of that experience deserves the same attention to detail. Flying from point A to point B and back, as important as it is to do that safely, cannot compare with a single day of strapping on a fighter and launching into the blue to do what fighter pilots do.
In preparation for posting entries from my military career, I decided to dust off boxes of slides I’ve had lying around for years. That brought to the forefront a long-standing “want” for a scanner. After much research, my wife and I chose a decent quality photo scanner for our home office and I’ve been learning how to use it.
In the meantime, ideas for entries keep popping up for the other logbooks. I’ve started a folder labeled “The Holding Pattern,” a term which refers most commonly to a racetrack pattern flown by aircraft when they have to wait something out: closed runway, bad weather, traffic saturation, or any other situation that requires the pilot to conserve fuel.
I suppose I should have been able to predict this, but ideas for Single Ship (current events, primarily in aviation but not restricted to it), Writer’s Desk (on writing, in case you were wondering), Rants and Raves (how can you blog and not let off some steam every once in a while?), and (although I’m not coming up with ideas for this one), Visitor Stories, have all generated a continuing enthusiasm for this effort. As of day twenty-six, I have no intention of slowing down.