I found myself hovering the mouse cursor over the answers in last week's simple poll question: Do you have the time to fly? The answer I finally clicked was that I've reduced my flying time due to other priorities, specifically work. I wasn't surprised that the MIT study
(Link) we reported on last week revealed that lack of time is as big a factor as lack of money in reduced flying time.
This is a major sea change for me personally. Fifteen years ago, I was editing two magazines, I was involved with AVweb in its start-up days and still found time to use the airplane for business trips and I also carried a reasonable flight instruction load. I'm not sure how I did that, because I certainly can't do it now. Of course, a decade ago, I was just an ink-stained wretch of a journalist. Now I'm a videographer and multi-media specialist, too. We've had to learn to fit the additional duties into a day that still has 24 hours.
Last winter, when I learned of the Cubs to Oshkosh event, I embarked upon an ultimately self-defeating attempt to participate. It evolved from, wow, this will be fun to, I wonder if I can find the time to, boy, I'm sure glad I didn't do that. Why? It wasn't the money, although believe or not, even in the Cub, it takes $1000 in gas for the round trip from Florida to Oshkosh. That's twice the airline fare. But it would also require six daysthree up, three back, allowing for any weather. AirVenture already blows a hole in the monthly editorial schedule. Adding six more days to that was simply untenable. So I demurred, as I suspect others do when immovable priorities loom. (The fact that dealing with airport security is a nuisance, waiting for the fuel truck and fetching the weather briefing doesn't help.)
So I make up for it as my schedule permits. This morning, I got to the airport early, propped the Cub and spent a glorious solid hour-and-half aimlessly burning precious hydrocarbons. I was testing a new LightSPEED headset with a fresh mix of music on my IPhone, which now has a couple of new nav programs on it. Rhythm and blues and spying on the beach kids from 300 feet. I may not have a lot of time to fly, but there's nothing to keep me from making the most of what I do have.
More Neil Armstrong
I wasn't quite prepared for how much Neil Armstrong's death last weekend would affect me. It wasn't so much the loss of the man himself, but the loss of an era of optimism and vision that he represented. I kind of spin off on things like this, rooting around in my library for books I've read on the Apollo program and scouring the Web for all sorts of interesting stuff. You can bury yourself for days in Apollo Lunar Surface Journals.
I came across a great documentary that I believe was originally made by Ron Howard for the IMAX market. It's called In the Shadow of the Moon and is making the rounds on The Discovery Channel. You can view the entire thing here.
Last week, I observed that I never tire of hearing the Apollo astronauts interviewed because each has a unique perspective on what it was like to participate in the greatest of human adventures. The film has interviews with astronauts rarely heard from: Charlie Duke, Edgar Mitchell, Dave Scott, Michael Collins and Jim Lovell describing how he could feel the fuel rumbling down feed pipes into 15,000-gallon-per-second turbopumps to feed the Saturn 5's five F1 engines for just 150 seconds.
Get yourself a nice comfy chair and a cold drink and settle in. It's worth every second of the 100-minute running time.