"The Wings of Man"

(I believe it was Icarus, or was it the Wrights?)

One can cover some distance by paddling, swimming, sailing, hiking, running, driving, training--but to do it far and wide (other than to communicate about it through the means you have in hand), is--To Fly. I have logged time in many conveyances in motion, summing many months in various aircraft of many descriptions. From hot air ballooning (here with Michael over springtime wildlife in the Maryland piedmont), sailplanes (here-again with Michael in a glider--over Calistoga and the San Francisco Bay and its Napa Valley wine country), light single- engine or twin aircraft over African jungles (or here also seen in the Venezuelan Amazonas with Luis Ayala in his twin Aztec), the airborne magic carpets have lifted us from the horizontal and added dimensions and destinations that could not have been imagined just one generation before mine.

Helicopters have lifted me over the Coral Sea to drop me o the Great Barrier Reef. Here you see helicopter hops over jungles and mountains in Zaire with "Helimission" and over Yutaje Tepuy, Amazonas. I have been a passenger in nearly every kind of airliner flying the colors of over half the world's nations. On one of last year's trans-Atlantic flights, I had an Inaugural Ride in the first commercial flight of a new B-777 (the 14th one produced). "Note that this wide-body jetliner has only two engines to trust for this 12 hour flight" narrates the proud pilot, "but each has twice the thrust of all eight engines of a B-52, and the airframe of a wide-body 767 can glide through this engine cowling without touching the sides." I do not care what they say; I still do not believe they can get off the ground and fly!

But, of course, "How high and how fast can you fly?" is the "Altior, Celtior" Olympic challenge and the highest and fastest available "rapid transit" for most of us non-NASA citizens is the Concorde. Yes, I have done it, high and fast enough over the Atlantic to see the earth's curvature, and to chase--and beat-- the sun, arriving several hours before leaving the eastern continents.

It's a small world, after all. To borrow two slogans:

"Tomorrow, you can be anywhere."

"Just do it!"