ICARUS SERIES #2: THE HUBRIS OF FLIGHT
This series will draw metaphors from the famous Greek mythological story of Icarus.
If you are unfamiliar; Icarus’ father (Daedalus) was an amazing craftsman who built his son a pair of wings made of wax and feathers. Against his father’s guidance he flew too close to the sun and melted his wings, crashing to his death in the ocean. This ancient story holds a lot of wisdom for general aviation that this series will explore.
Flying is an interesting endeavor. It involves high rates of speed, dizzying heights and all of this is reliant upon a fragile collection of lightweight parts, our perishable skills, and the unfailing laws of physics.
How dare we think we can soar above the birds with the same safety and convenience of a motorist?
The hubris of flight has always fascinated me. I came from a humble lower-middle class family of non flyers, so it was understandable that I felt like a bit of a hero in High School with my Pilot’s License in hand. I tried to never let it go to my head, but inside I knew it was a big deal. Again not in an arrogant way, but rather in quiet realization that I was doing something only a fraction of the population dared to do. Certainly no one outside my airport friends could relate to what was happening to me.
Was it courage, ignorance, blind trust, or arrogance the pushed me across that great divide between the people of the ether and everyone else? I don’t really know.
What I do know is the world of flight is the most transformative thing I have ever embarked upon. As a young man it fueled a dream and gave me confidence that I could really do whatever I set my mind to.
It has provided a focus for my passion, an outlet for my creativity, an amazing career, and countless experiences that most of the populace could never imagine.
When I was going through hours of flying footage for my most recent short video, it struck me how much freedom we have. Again, how dare we think we could build an airplane with our own two hands and fly it with virtually no restrictions whenever and wherever we please. Most ground-based mortals are amazed when they learn how unfettered we are.
The hubris of aviation is NOT that we do all these things in spite of the enormity of them. It’s the fact that we often fail to realize what an amazing gift we have. Like my good friend Ron Rapp recently proclaimed on his blog, sometimes you have to stop and take time to smell the roses (link here).
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