There’s a new documentary coming out next year called, Aviation: The Invisible Highway. The trailer claims that…“When airplanes were invented, their purpose was simple, to take us faster and farther.”
I disagree. Airplanes were invented because people wanted to go up into the air. They wanted to fly above the ground. They wanted to see their world from a new perspective, from above. Speed began as a necessary ingredient for flight, and distance became an instant and unavoidable by-product of that speed. But more important than speed and distance was the new perspective and what it brought to those who took to the air.
Speed and distance matter. But at first they were side-effects of the magic of flying. Take someone flying for the first time in a small plane and what they focus on is the view of the ground, the Earth below, and if the sky carries some puffy clouds, they will marvel at the enormity of the third dimension they barely appreciated from the ground.
I fly for that third dimension, a perspective that opens your eyes and your mind. A little vignette I found once on a small poster of a single engine aircraft captured it: “Flying, you take off, but you never come back down.”