View Full Version : My Shadows

03-13-2002, 02:07 AM
It was a cool Saturday morning in the Mississippi Delta. Not a common occurrence for this part of the country. Thomas Butler had invited me to go for a ride in his Dad's plane the previous day. I hardly slept a wink that night. We arrived at the airport early the next morning. The sun had just come up and the dew was still on the ground. As we walked through the gate towards the ramp it caught my eye. A yellow airplane with a black stripe. Nothing special, just an airplane that I thought was perfect. I can remember thinking "I can fly this" it looked so easy, no switches, no key, just two pedals and something to hold on to. When I found out that this was the airplane we would fly on that life changing morning I was the happiest boy alive. After a quick walk around Mr. Butler fired the old cub up and we were on our way. I can remember Thomas and I were strapped into the back seat together. And even at eight years old I was a little closer to another guy than I would like to be but that didn't matter today. We taxied past airplanes and bean fields to the intersection of one of the runways. The next thing I knew we were accelerating down the runway, I was looking out toward the west as we took off. I saw the shadow of the plane slide across the ground away from us until we turned. It was a very sure feeling. And it was one of the first sure things in my life that I can truly remember. From the 8000' runway we flew low over to a small grass strip. Upon touchdown the wet grass shot water up from behind the mains like a fire hose. We did a few touch and go's and flew over our houses. From there we went back to the airport and as we got closer to the ground the shadow came into view. I reluctantly watched it as it came to greet us on the ground. My first flight was over and I never flew in that plane again, but on that day I was the luckiest boy alive and I have never forgotten the sight of that shadow breaking ties with the object that created it. To this day, every time I fly, I watch my shadow slowly slide away. I hope that I will always be able to put some distance between my shadows and me. After all, the one thing that connects us to our shadow is the ground, and only those of us who fly will ever know what that means. So do your best to keep some distance between you and your shadow.

03-13-2002, 08:45 AM
Nice! Thanks!


Rick Sanson
03-13-2002, 10:38 AM
I liked that! I like the emotional part of flying and that is what you're describing. Some do it for a living but I do it for exactly what you described as a boy! Nicely said!

I too love to watch my shadow on the ground. I even try to control my airplane by attempting to keep my shadow on a moving car or tracking down a road or river. I sometimes do turns around a point trying to keep my shadow moving consistently around the point.

Obviously I have too much time on my hands!

03-15-2002, 11:08 AM
Right on! Brings Back memories! Nothing like the smell of a little oil, avgas, and fabric. Just the peace that comes as you let the engine warm up and all those little parts inside warming up together! You look to the left, check the eilerons, pull the flap handle, (heh)already dreaming of that final approach to where no one has ever landed before!, pull back on the stick and look back (Free from the ground)(free to truly move around). Alittle push on the left heel brake and then the left (a little mental reminder that "we don't use them lest we have to"! Glance back at the panel and the cylinder temp is coming up, the oil temp is off the peg, the oil pressure is steady at about 80, we set the altimeter to the field, (check the tack time against he fuel (log)"lest this become a glider". check the fuel selector one more time, take that final cinch on the lap and shoulder harness, pushing forward agains them (what a blessed assurance that those tubes in the windscreen are just out of reach! Without a word said, it's like the cub has awakened and is now talking to you, "I'M READY, ARE YOU?"
As for me the last thing on my check list is:
Good Morning Jesus! Thank you for this day, it is indeed beautiful, thank you for this flight, protect me, guide me, and keep my family safe while I am up there with you, You are awesome! and so is my cub that you have blessed me with! THANKS FOR BEING MY LORD--AMEN.

Look both ways for traffic (seeing none) we roll--------This is life

don d
03-15-2002, 01:10 PM
Really liked that last one from the "cubdriver" . More of us need to have those same thoughts and feelings. We are truly blessed to have these opportunities.

03-17-2002, 12:51 AM
These aren't Cub stories, but is a pretty good link to pilot stories. http://www.xs4all.nl/~blago/planewriting/4c.html

Plane Writing: Quotes from vintage writing about flying.

I was utterly alone in the sky, yet suddenly, against the wall of the cloud, I saw another machine. It was so close that instinctively I yanked the stick and reeled away, my heart in my mouth. A second later, I looked round and laughed- there was nothing there! It was my own shadow I had seen, the silhouette of the Parasol on the white cheek of the cloud. I came back to observe this strange and rare phenomenon. There on the cloud was my shadow, dark, clean-cut; but more than the shadow, for around it was a bright halo of light, and outside that a perfect circular rainbow, and outside that again another rainbow, fainter, reversed.

I shut off, turned east, and came down. The white floor, several thousand feet below, rose up towards me, turned at last from a pavement of pearl to just a plain bank of fog. I plunged into it. I might be going back from paradise to purgatory, so grey and cold and comfortless it was. And as I sank through it, listening to the singing of the wires, I was thinking how some day men might no longer hug the earth, but dwell in heaven, draw power and sustenance from the skies, whirl at their will among the stars, and only seek the ground as men go down to the dark mysteries of the sea-floor, glad to return, sun-worshippers, up to the stainless heaven.
The melancholy landscape of stubble fields and bare trees appeared. I picked up a road, got my bearings, and swept off home at a hundred feet. 'Did you see anything?' said another pilot, strolling up to the machine. 'Nothing. It's completely dud.'

Cecil Lewis, Sagittarius rising (1936)

08-29-2008, 09:42 PM
Today I was running around like a mad woman/mom. The kids were off school. They like to sleep in and then announce "i need...." So we were off to the store to get required clothing, and off to school to water the biology experiment. And between it all are friends to be picked up, the kitchen to be cleaned (does this ever happen), video games to be played. Soon we were back home and everyone was hungry. I didn't sit and eat but asked if i could take off for the airport for a couple of hours. The kids were more than happy to get me out of the house, probably to make a mess in the kitchen again. I was able to get to the airport, sit in my chair and admire my cub for a bit. We then pushed it out and I "worked" on my short field takeoffs and landings. Today was very calm and pleasant and for once the pattern work just got better and better. I treasure keeping some distance between me and my shadow, and then joining again, and then making some distance....

And the best part of all was getting to share it with someone I love!

10-05-2008, 10:18 AM
I just brought my fuselage home on the top of the SUV. The fuse was positioned so I had to lean forward over the wheel and look up in the windscreen to check on it. BUT, for a good part of the trip, especially the first half, the sun was positioned so I could just look out my drivers side window at the ground next to me and look at the shadow of it riding on top of the truck. Perfect. No problems. Fuse made the trip just great. Now, I can't wait till the projects done and I get to see the shadow leave the ground. :D

07-23-2009, 09:20 PM
Just found the guy who now owns the cub I wrote about. I'll post a photo later.

07-23-2009, 10:02 PM
As a major interstate runs through the valley a 1,000' below and 5 miles away from my strip, I often notice my shadow as it passes over the cars below. Sometimes I'll play " put the shadow on the road/car/truck", from a safe and legal height of course.

A few weeks ago, as I noticed my flight path and my shadow were coming up on the road, I vaguely thought "maybe I'll play the shadow game", then to my surprise, I realized that my shadow was dead nuts centered over a on ramp, and my not thought out flight path was smoothly merging me with the traffic flow. The shadow was perfectly centered in the on ramp, and stayed centered while I/it merged, it was dumb luck, I could never have done it so well if I'd tried.