Last time when I was down at the airport, keeping up my currency I had the good fortune to run into Bob, he’d just finished up with a CPL student and was waiting on his next.
I’d just finished my “three times around the block” circuits for currency and was reasonably happy with how it all went.
We fell back into old routines quickly, chatting about flying, the world in general and our usual topics.
“How’s work?” Bob inquires.
“Hell!” I reply with the kind of laugh that indicates I’m actually being fairly truthful.
“And you?” I reciprocate.
He gives the half shrug and wry smile that I understand all too well.
“You too, huh? To be honest that’s one of the reasons I’m flying today. I just felt the need to burn through some sky. To be up there, even if it was just circuits, you know?” I respond.
A look passed between us, a moment of clarity and entire mutual understanding. Bob knew exactly what I was talking about.
“I used to do the same thing,” he confessed “have a bad day at work and just fly, then at least I’d have achieved something”
He’s 100% right.
Flying is amazing, awe inspiring and satisfying. In the circuit there’s a rhythm, a cadence to the flying and yet you still have to be hyper aware as to what’s going on around you.
You switch off the parts of your brain that are p!ssed at your boss, the parts that are frustrated at the world and replace them with the memory of muscles needed to land, the mental processes need to parse what ATC is trying to do.
You can’t hang on to the useless crap that circulates through your mind at 3:00am in the morning. You are simultaneously exercising the most primal survival seeking parts of your brain as you do something that no human was ever designed to. While at the same time you need every single one your highest order mental processes to carry out the multitude of tasks required.
There’s simply no room for anything else.
All the emotional baggage you pick up just goes.
Flying is the ultimate paradox in that it demands total and utter concentration while at the same time totally clearing your mind.
And that’s why we fly