Flying means getting above it all

By Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Guy “Doc” Baldwin and Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle.
Both men thought that flying was “fun.”
Both men died in he skies.
But they aren’t the only ones who think flying is “fun.”
There are 235,994 private pilots, who fly approximately 200,000 actively registered private aircraft in and out of nearly 20,000 airfields, large and small.
That’s according to a story that appeared on ABC News on-line on Oct. 27, 2005. The story divided those pilots into two groups.
To one group, the story says, flying is simply an interesting challenge, like golfing for business reasons.
The other group, however, is “desperately in love with flying” and incapable of being bored by anything about flying.
That’s the group to which Guy “Doc” Baldwin and Yankee pitcher Corey Lidle belonged.
Todays issue of the Quay County Sun has a plea to continue the Tucumcari Air show from another pilot, Ralph McCormick, who also loves flying, and flying low.
Have you flown? Not in an enormous jet plane, but in a small plane.
If you haven’t, give it a try. See what flying is really like.
I have. I’ve flown in a single prop plane over Florida’s wetlands. The water sparkled below lke mirrors and I was mesmerized by the plane’s shadow and reflection.
Once you forget the engine sounds only slighly lounder than your lawnmower, the attraction of and fascination with flying is understandable once you’ve been up there among the clouds.
Up there you see why Baldwin and Lidle loved flying.
The real start of private flying began after World War II, after the Air Force had given free flying lessons to thousands who wanted to keep it up. And many were able to.
Of course, they were in the minority, as they are today. After WW II the mass of people (who weren’t in their automobiles) were traveling mostly by train. Then the airlines came along, first with propeller-driven planes, and then with jets. So millions of people flew high in the sky but most of them didn’t know how to fly and couldn’t understand the joy of flying.
Still there were sizable numbers who fly. In the United States private aviation is for the most part open to everyone, everyone who can afford it
You can still enjoy “flying for the pure joy of it.”
People with planes constantly fly in and out of airports like the Tucumcari, Clovis, and Santa Rosa municipal Airports.
Just this week, New Mexico’s Lt. Governor Diane Denish was a passneger who flew in for a visit to Tucumcari.
Those who want to become pilots, like to get organized. There are flying clubs for people who, because they wanti to fly, buy an aircraft and rent it to members of the club, those who can fly, and those who hope to, with the help of certificated flight instructor, learn to fly and earn their private pilot’s license.
Every year, almost 100,000 people in the U.S. are taking flying lessons.
This past week, Albuqerque hosted the International Balloon Fiesta. Balloons are another way of getting into the sky.
In Moriarty. there’s still another way of getting up into the clouds. In a plane with no engine, a glider. The gliders ride the thermals and soar silently several miles above us.
Then there are the hang gliders, launched usually from a high cliff. Another group who love to defy gravity and fly through the sky.
Wanting to fly seems to be almost a primeval force. Michelangelo designed a glider. The Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic.
Yes, there have been some who have lost their lives. But there’s something about being there in the sky that some people keep reaching for.
God bless them.

Chelle Delaney is associate publisher for the Quay County Sun. Contact her at 461-1952 or by e-mail:
chelle_delaney@link.freedom.com