To those who choose not to wage war against gravity, the airplane is merely a machine. To the Disciples of Flight, the airplane transforms from metal and wire into a somewhat uncanny extension of our arms, legs, minds, and souls. For centuries, man looked to the skies, admiring God’s winged creations, and risked it all trying to force man’s evolution into the clouds. It wasn’t manifest until a few inspired men, who found that this perfect invention came to life with the absence of the process of invention itself, “as if the line which the human eye followed had not been invented but simply discovered, had in the beginning been hidden by nature and in the end found by the engineer.” These magnificent machines have transformed the world, the inhabitants thereof, and this mere mortal who’s found a home and a new life within these steel structures and fabric skins. The airplane does more than set me free, it is the freedom in which we all seek, a tangible vessel by which one can see the beautiful creations we’ve been blessed to live within, that takes us to places beyond the reach of our feet, where we can step back into history, while indulging in adventure within the pure wilderness where we came from. As we voyage through these skies, simple actions through the various flight controls are more than mere corrections to maintain our course, they become how we communicate with the invisible medium that makes this all possible, an extension of our personalities. And as we cross paths with other aviators along our way, we realize that the airplane has done more than allow our minds a release from the “tyranny of petty things,” more than grant us an answer to a childhood wish to fly like the birds, the airplane has brought those willing to brave the skies to a new classroom to learn in, a new playground to grow in, and a new home to love in. Today, I’m thankful for those who’ve been instrumental in making airplanes like our Cub a reality that we can continue to evolve within.

Photo Credits: Taylor Dalton