The sky was hazy, but the day was calm. We were determined to get some time in the air even if visibility was suspected to be like the inside of a milk bottle. It was true. After lifting off everything became much harder to see. So it became an exercise in concentration when traffic call outs were made by ATC with my reply of “negative contact” each time.
So why bother if you can’t see where you’re going? To get pancakes. Sometimes it’s useful for general aviation pilots to have a mission. Sure we love to bore holes in the sky when practicing aerobatics or maneuvers but sometimes the sense of mission legitimizes the boring of holes. We look for an excuse to fly and it sometimes defies logic. Just try to explain why you need to get that winged marvel you’ve seen in Trade-A-Plane to your spouse with the explanation that it will save travel time. This irrefutable reasoning was the same used by my friend who told his wife that they would save money on fish by buying that cabin cruiser. Didn’t work for him either.
The journey may be the reward, but a destination legitimizes the journey. It made perfect sense to travel a hundred miles for a pancake (Not to be c0nfused with the $100 hamburger). Even better was that a lot of others had the same idea. We followed this Stearman the last 15 miles.all the way to the restaurant. Beautiful bird and recently restored. I could still smell fresh paint as sunlight danced around its leading edges. I could also smell bacon. The diner was full of pilots. Occasionally, you’d see hands mimicking plane maneuvers as the latest amazing flying story played out to an appreciative audience. As it was at Oshkosh, it was good to be around others that spoke the same language. The food was actually good and the crucial mission accomplished. A perfect morning.
Bonus: You might find something unusual on the ramp. This one doesn’t seem to be in any aviation book.