Jack wrote this in August, 2005:
Ceiling and visibility unlimited. The Federal Aviation Administration weather guessers invented this one, methinks. You call in for in-route weather reports, they tell you CAVU all the way to your destination…. You listen to the winds aloft, find you have a 20 knot tail-wind at 8000 MSL.
You smile to yourself, wrap it all up into the same package with the CAVU, taxi down to the end of the strip. Run up. Left mag, right mag, carb heat, everything A-OK. Lock the left toe-brake and examine those beautiful empty skies for aircraft. Nuthun but pure clear altitude up there.
Straight down the tube, lock the toe brakes, full throttle, full RPMs, release the toe brakes… roll, bring up the tail… roll, feel her trying to fly… lift the nose you’re free.
That’s how it all begins. You allow yourself to believe it’s true.
Yeah, I’m a top-hand. I have a handle on things. I’m what they call a real neat guy.
That’s your most vulnerable moment. That’s the time in this life, you, me, savoring the sweetness of knowing we are just the smartest, coolest, most absolutely scintillating critters that ever came down the pike, that’s when we close our eyes.
Maybe it will get us into trouble, but often enough it doesn’t so’s to let us get into a habit. The universe has lots of time, and an unplanned, hard landing isn’t the only penalty for self-imposed blindness. Probably that isn’t even the worst penalty over the long haul.