Tag Archives: Flying


The problem with things on the quantum scale is that we cannot predict where they are in space and time, which greatly gives us many choices of where a particle or wave is likely to be. This same principle is also at work when the universe offers me opportunities.

This is the heart of my understanding of why I make the choices that I do. Like the quantum world, my Universe offers many different opportunities; I am not able to know in advance how those opportunities will work if I choose one of them.

In the summer of my 15th year, I needed to be employed. Two of my choices were getting a paper route or working as a caddy at the local golf club.

The paper route would be easy. I had friends who had routes and I could find out from them how to begin. A caddy job? No clue.

I lived with my parents in a second-floor apartment of a converted single-family home. The male counterpart of the couple who lived on the first floor learned from my mother of my predicament of finding work.

He found me outside one day.

“Come with me,” he said, “I will drive you up to the airport and see if they have a job for you.”

Within my quantum world, his suggestion created a third choice.

The Universe, as I understand it, like the quantum world, offers no fixed path or position of opportunities. It is up to me, the Observer, to identify the correct position or path of the opportunities before me.

“This young man needs a job to keep him off the streets,” my neighbor said to the man in charge, who was the business owner of the airport, which also offered a flight school.

“Yes!” the owner replied.

The deal was very simple; I was to get to the airport early and do odd jobs until later in the afternoon when I could go home. He pointed out a few specific jobs such as fueling the aircraft that came in, helping the aircraft owners return their airplanes to the hangers, washing and cleaning aircraft and mowing the runway around the buildings.

Whenever the airport needed me, my pay would start at $5 a day, plus the fringe benefits of flying lessons and access to the vending machines for snacks.

I would give my mom the cash for board; flying was my big benefit.

My home was adjacent to the airport property, no need for any other transportation or bothering my parents for a ride. I would conveniently walk to the airport each day and see what work they had for me.

For all of my young life I had wanted to be a railroad engineer. The thought of becoming a pilot never entered my mind. This was a truly exciting development. I was smitten with the idea of working with the planes.

My father was a tool and die engineer in the aircraft industry during World War II. He talked about airplanes and was briefly employed by the Bellanca Aircraft Company in Wilmington, Delaware.

Bellanca made a fast, small, low-wing airplane, which could carry the pilot and three other people. There was a growing market for similar airplanes to be used by business owners and wealthy people for recreation. That was the extent of my knowledge about flying.

“What do you say to the man?” my neighbor had asked me.

Summoning up all the courage I had as a boy, I replied. “Thank you, I would like the job. Can I start tomorrow?”

We shook hands, which I found out was the way that men ‘sealed the deal.’

I followed my neighbor out of the office building to his car. Once in the car, my neighbor asked me what I thought.

“Thank you,” I said to him enthusiastically, although I don’t think he really knew how excited I was about getting that particular job.

It was not until decades later, while studying the physical and quantum aspects of the universe, did I understand how the Universe really worked making my future.

Night Flight

I rolled onto the final approach leaving myself plenty of altitude and distance from the runway. The sky was clear and dark. An afterglow remained low on the western horizon.

Flames from smudge pots outlined the runway; headlights from two cars illuminated the runway ahead.

I approached the runway in a sideslip within a strong gusty crosswind. I would kick the airplane into alignment with the runway at the last possible moment.

I checked the landing gear, three-in-the-green. The landing lights illuminated the touchdown zone.

At the end of the runway, the sod was worn to the gravel. I made a mental note to start my takeoff roll in the sod portion when it became time to depart.

Trees lined the opposite end of the runway, the runway was short, several high hills would need to be cleared if I screwed up and went around. I rehearsed the go-around in my mind.

I recited my abbreviated checklist: gas, undercarriage, mixture, prop. If I had to go-around, it would have to be now, otherwise I was committed to land.

The flash of the collision light reflected from the ground as I passed the landing threshold. With a deft flick of my wrist and a dance on the rudder petals I kicked the airplane out of the slip to level flight just as the main wheels rolled onto the gravel. Letting the nose wheel down, I came to a stop with hundreds of feet to spare.

I sat there; the cars speeding along after me, they pulled ahead and made a sweeping turn around in front to guide me to the parking area.

I retracted the flaps, made a slow turn back down the runway, and followed the cars who stopped next to a row of wooden “T” hangers. At the end of the hangers, A light shown out of an office window, illuminating an impressive Sikorsky helicopter tied down on the ramp.

I recognized the name of the company emblazoned on the side of the fuselage and realized the Sikorsky must be the reason for the replacement part that I have onboard.

A man directed me to the center of the blacktopped ramp. I set the parking brake and shut down the engine. Completing the checklist, I turned off the battery switch. The cockpit went dark, I sat listening to the gyros spinning down.

It wasn’t a difficult flight. I found the airport on the first pass, the landing went well. Putting aside my fear of meeting new people, I unlatched the cabin door and stepped out onto the wing and then to the ground.

Flood lights came on. Men from the cars assembled outside my plane. I recognized one of the men, the helicopter pilot.

A chilly wind was blowing, I zipped up my flight jacket and stepped around the wing to meet the greeting committee.

They weren’t all men. One of greeters was a handsome woman, a woman of striking beauty, older than myself by ten years.

It started the moment our eyes met; I have never been right since and that was sixty years ago.