DL 1987.

I am aboard Delta flight 1987 from Syracuse to Atlanta on my way to North Carolina. I am visiting friends in the Raleigh-Durham area this weekend; it’s our annual holiday gathering. 

I’m in seat 3D aboard this MD-88. The mood in the cabin is jovial. As the airplane was loading at Syracuse I noted that no one was wearing sweat pants this evening. The flight is not quite full. I was originally scheduled to fly from Syracuse to JFK and then to Raleigh-Durham, but that flight was delayed and I wouldn’t have made my layover, so I rescheduled with some assistance from the Delta app and then speaking with Todd at Delta Customer Service.

Delta Customer Service always impresses me. It’s a nice change of pace in today’s world.

I can see the very last remnants of the sunset off on the horizon from 35,000 feet. That’s just one of the many awesome things about flying. I always feel bad for folks that don’t feel the thrill for flight the way I do. I can understand being a nervous passenger and the like, some people are just not wired to soar above the earth, but I learned the joys of flight at a very young age and I am a better man for it.  Ten years ago or so I would get nervous on airline flights for the simple reason that I didn’t know the pilot. As a kid I always knew the pilot, it was either my father, my grandfather or a friend of the family. Flying on an airline back then felt weird because I couldn’t observe was the pilot was doing, and that made me hesitant about flying the airlines. I have never, ever been nervous in a single engine airplane, even that summer afternoon in 1985 when the engine in my Dad’s 1940 Piper J-5A suddenly stopped while we were on downwind to land and my dad had to do a dead-stick landing. We pushed the airplane from where we stopped on the runway to the hangar. My dad’s reaction to the event was simple. He said “huh”.  We were back in the air the following weekend. 

I’ve practiced many dead stick landings in the Cherokee. I did several as a student and I’ve practiced them from time to time as a licensed pilot. It’s good to keep one’s skills sharp. I figure that airline pilots have to do the same thing, though they probably don’t dead stick a real, live MD88 very often. That’s what simulators are for.

I look out into the dark sky as we skirt the tops of the haze. It is so awesome. If I was 10 years younger I would definitely be changing my career to become a professional pilot. My plan is to become an instructor so that I have something to do when I retire. I love the idea of sharing my joy of aviation.

There are some bumps here and there on this flight, just enough to keep things interesting. I know some folks think airliners bounce all over the sky in turbulence but it’s rare for the airplane to move more than a few feet in the sky at the very, very most. Airplanes are built to withstand much more than they’re ever subjected to. 

Just sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.