I have always enjoyed watching airplanes take off and land, and fly overhead. As a kid, whenever we drove past an airport I remember looking as hard as I could in the hopes I would see an airplane, even if I knew I wouldn’t see one.1 I can remember my dad stopping on the side of the road to let me watch a plane take off or land. My son is the same way I was as a kid, and yes, I have stopped the car to let him watch an airplane. Why do we do this? I was reminded earlier of a quote from one of my favorite books that I think perfectly describes why.
“…Here, refreshed in the wind, I rediscover what I had previously held to be certain truths. I again become aware that no pilot alive can resist watching a plane take oﬀ or land. He may pass a motionless airplane without noticing it, but the moment his ears detect the ﬁrst burst of power from a plane, however distant, he will turn his head regardless of everything else around him and watch it.”He will also rudely break oﬀ in the middle of a conversation to watch a plane landing, though there may be a constant ﬂow of them. From observance of such activity he enjoys an abiding satisfaction, as basic and everlasting as that found by a deep-sea sailor on his obligatory pilgrimage to the nearest harbor…” — Ernest Gann in Fate Is The Hunter
The “refreshed in the wind” line has always stuck with me, because of a feeling I sometimes get at airports when the wind is just right. It is a feeling of calm and peace, and it is in those times that I’m even more grateful that I am able to do what I love. I don’t know why I get this feeling when the wind is a certain way, I just do. I get this feeling the strongest on clear days, when the temperature is around 75 to 80°F, and the wind is about 5 to 10 knots. When I get this feeling all I want to do is stop and watch the airplanes take off and land, and simply take in the sights, sounds, smells, and as crazy as it may sound to some, the beauty of the airport. As stressful as my job can get, it is in these times that I am refreshed in the wind, and that I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Who am I kidding, I still do it as an adult.↩︎