At 3000 feet, cruising at 130 knots in calm conditions and with clear blue skies, you are in a different world to the one you left on the ground. You are away from all of the nasty things that happen at ground level, and down below everything is neat, ordered and in its place. The world and everything in it is perfect. The roads, the trees, the fences, the houses, the creeks, the rivers, the lakes, the mountains – viewed from 3000 feet its a perfect world in miniature.
And you see things and parts of the country that you would never see from down there.
I remember my first flight ever – nine years old and at an air pageant at Taieri aerodrome near Dunedin where you could go for rides in a small thirties airliner – a de Havilland Dominie (Rapide), a biplane with a short nose and engines and wheels enclosed in streamlined spats. My father shouted the family a joyride and I marvelled at how small, immaculate and perfectly formed the world below was. Paddocks were the size of postage stamps.
But I’ve never been tempted to take up flying despite the freedom it gives you. When I first started flying regularly as a passenger, I was pretty much the person who single-handedly lifted the plane up into the sky by hauling upwards on the armrests; “Faster and faster – is he ever going to lift off? We must be just about out of runway …”
Heave on the armrests and up the aircraft soars!
“Phew! I did it!”
But those were early days and I quickly learnt to conquer my fear of flying by understanding that the people flying the thing didn’t want to crash any more than I did.
My disinterest in learning to fly is based on a much more personal understanding that Allan Robert Dick lacks the self-discipline and attention to detail required to fly successfully – and safely.