Over the last few days, I received two catalogs in the mail; Yard Store and Aircraft Spruce. If you are into experimental aircraft or restoration these will be no strangers, and you might be getting a little wood just thinking about them. I spent most of Christmas Eve going through both catalogs page by page, all 1300+ pages.
Spending Christmas eve looking through a couple of aviation catalogs might sound a little weird if you are not deeply infected with the aviation bug, but to me, I could think of nothing else. I had been sitting on both of them for a few days and was chomping at the bit to get at them. Fortunately I had enough restraint to get family stuff done first and waited until we were just sitting around watching movies.
I have been a pilot for 12 years, and an aircraft mechanic for 3, It’s been way too long since I have flown and I haven’t wrenched on an airplane in about a year, so I have been itching something fierce to be… that which I am, an Aviator. Sound a little melodramatic? Maybe. I went back to school full-time for over two years to become an aircraft mechanic when I started an experimental aircraft project because I wanted to be that much more knowledgeable and skilled before really getting into the project. That should give an indication of the level of aviation infection I have.
Looking at the catalogs brought my lack of aviation related activity into a very sharp view. In the Aircraft Spruce catalog, the first 40 pages, I was feeling a deep homesickness, both for flying and for wrenching. It’s an aching feeling that something just isn’t right, I just don’t know how to explain it to someone who hasn’t been bitten by the same bug. It’s like a physical piece of you is missing, a phantom pain. Over time you just learn to ignore it then something happens and all of a sudden you realize that the phantom is still there and the longing returns.
Sounds a bit crazy to those not afflicted I’m sure. For me, it is very real. In part, it is so strong because I haven’t been able to share this thing that brings me so much joy with those I love. Only one family member has ever flown with me. I want so much to take Tammy and our son flying, to share that exhilarating experience with them, to share that part of me, that fills me with such joy, I want to share that joy.
Building and working on airplanes is something I doubt they will ever find as enjoyable as I do, but flying may have some impact. I would love to take them flying and have them take advantage of the opportunity by taking pictures in-flight, and maybe, just maybe they can feel some of what I feel when I fly.
I miss the skies, I miss flying through the scud, I miss the instrument approaches, I miss the pre-flights, I miss the refueling, I miss the flight planning, I miss the excitement of driving to the airport for a flight, I miss it all. Some day soon my friend sky, some day soon.