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Old 06-20-2004, 09:47   #18
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Originally posted by F14Scott
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

Oh, I have slipped the surly bounds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a thousand things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there,
I've chased the shouting wind along , and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
Some times, when I read or remember "High Flight", memories of certain flights fill me with that unique excitement born of being "There".

Other times the tears come, brought on by memories of those who have truly "slipped the surly bounds of earth".

Richard Bach, in Stranger to the Ground wrote, ďFor a pilot, flying is never dangerous, for a man must be a little bit insane or under the press of duty to willingly remain in a position that he truly considers dangerous. Airplanes occasionally crash, pilots are occasionally killed, but flying is not dangerous, it is interesting.Ē This I consider an understatement.;f

Here are some quotes from a textbook:

"Any assessment of a personís motivation to fly must deal with primal emotional issues. The attractions of flying involve feelings that seem to be present in all humans from birth, regardless of culture. Flying is a fascinating, dangerous activity that is both loved and feared (Bond, 1952): loved because of its grace and beauty, feared because of the chance of catastrophe..."

"Flying is more than a means of transportation. Aeromedical authors have acknowledged the importance of emotional factors in motivation to fly since aviation began. In addition to Andersonís (1919) textbook already cited, Armstrong 's Principles and Practice of Aviation Medicine (1943, pp 2, 460ff.) compared the emotional aspects of aviation to a spiritual experience, noting that all religions portray flight as a divine gift (e.g., "going up" to heaven, angels with wings). John Gillespie Magee, Jr.ís sonnet High Flight (1941) ends with the words "...Put out my hand, and touched the face of God." Military aviators, a notoriously reserved group, give each other plaques inscribed with this poem as awards.

(United States Air Force Flight Surgeonís Guide. Chapter Nine. Aviation Neuropsychiatry, Rev 4 Feb 02)
Freedom has a taste to those who fight and almost die, that the protected will never know.

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