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Winging It! With Dr. Paul


Toni Wakes drawing

It rained. Lordy, did it rain, for forty days and forty nights, until the ark came to rest atop Mount Ararat. Since the weather wasn't fit for flying, I set about amusing myself by writing, forty short pieces, one a day, vitamin-style. Here are the results of that diversion. I offer them to you, to fill the hours you're forced to spend on the ground. For your amusement, next time it rains.

This, then, is a book about flying. It was written by a pilot, for pilots. If you're not a licensed aviator, read no further.

Still here, O Creature of the Earth? Then stick around; you're forgiven. By defying convention, you've proven yourself a flier in spirit, if not in fact. Welcome to the exclusive world of General Aviation, where flight is a metaphor for freedom. My purpose is to instruct, to entertain, and ever to proclaim the wonders of the sky.

The short articles, essays, stories and poems which comprise this collection were in fact written over a twelve year period. As a consequence, some of them may now seem a trifle dated. The world of flight has changed, and so have I. So have we all. But I've resisted the temptation to update and edit, because in its time, each piece had its story to tell. Many first appeared in Safety Corner, my monthly column in the Newsletter of the Frazier Lake Airpark Association. They were penned in fulfillment of my responsibilities as an Accident Prevention Counselor, and contain insights intended to make your flying just a bit safer. But fear not, I'll try not to lecture you; safety need not be sterile. In aviation, we can learn from one another and still have fun.

A few of these musings were previously seen in Sport Aviation, the journal of the Experimental Aircraft Association. They deal with the joy of flight, and I thank my EAA colleagues for permitting their reproduction here. Others are excerpts from my various reports to the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System. At least one is adapted from my contributions to the NewsMagazine of the Western Bonanza Society.

The balance of this book represents the random, rambling ruminations of the kid hanging on the airport fence, face aglow in eager anticipation. That kid is alive in each of us, and we find him when we fly. For to fly is to live the life of Peter Pan. We may grow old, but we need never grow up.

Welcome aboard.

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this page last updated 14 June 2007
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