Master of Flight.

Early morning: The perfect time for a glider flight. The night’s fog was slowly burning off in the gentle morning breeze and beads of dew dripped off the wings of the silent bird. Over the horizon, an enormous orange globe was scraping it’s way into the sky casting long shadows across the airfield. Birds began their morning symphony as two men walked across the beaten asphalt.

The pilot took a quick walk around his chariot to makes sure she had survived last night’s storm. Everything looked good, it was time to take the old girl airborne. Withing moments, the two men had her untied and rolling to the runway. A quick look over the pilot’s shoulder revealed why his tow pilot hadn’t arrived yet. The airport kitchen had opened for the morning and the sweet smell of bacon and eggs wafted over the airfield.

“Charlie’s once again their first customer.” He thought to himself as he opened the canopy and began his preflight checks. He’d been doing this so long that it was almost instinctive. “Control column left left aileron up…” and a whole string of muttered checklists had him ready to go if only Charlie could put down his coffee and start the tow plane up.

“It’s a good thing we’re the only fools still using this airfield on Saturday mornings” the pilot said to his wingman as he looked at his watch waiting for the old aviator to fire up his engine. At least they were rewarded with one of the most scenic sunrises the area had seen in weeks. Finally Charlie stepped out of the small building that doubled as a control tower and taxied his Cessna over to the glider.

Another series of rapid checklists and they were off the ground, circling and climbing into the morning sky. The clouds were so beautiful from up here. Still dyed from the rising sun they seemed to decorate the sky for miles in every direction, like flowers in your grandmother’s garden. The wind rushed over the Plexiglas canopy making the rivets rattle until the pilot released from the tow aircraft and soared along under his own power.

Everything was so quiet, so peaceful. It was just him and the morning. The giant bird gracefully danced among the violet ribbons in the cool air. A bump under the wing told the pilot he had found a column of rising air, a thermal and he edged his old plane into it. Slowly he rose, gaining only a few feet a minute. He looked out over his right wing and there beside him was a majestic eagle. He watched the great bird with awe. How at ease it seemed, broad wings straight out. Soaking up the hot air, never beating it’s powerful wings. It was truly a thing of beauty.

How he envied the bird. So free to dance in the air. No need for checklists and glutton tow pilots. How regal it looked so far from the ground. This is what flight was all about. The freedom to slip the bonds of gravity; to soar a peace with the world. High above the turmoil of society. Everything seemed right up here. If there truly is a Heaven it must be in the realm of the birds.

A few more minutes with the eagle and it was time to reluctantly return to the routine world down below. With great regret, the pilot touched down on the runway. He could feel the chains of gravity around his ankles as he left the glider. He would return to his freedom another day and perhaps share another brief moment with the masters of flight.

Master of Flight.

Stephen Gagne

Ashton, Canada

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Please feel free to critique this. It’s really just memoirs of a flight last summer so I can take any and all criticism.

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