There are few things that will warm an aviation geek’s heart like a heritage flight.
An old warbird flying formation with a modern-era fighter jet reminds us just how far we’ve come in aviation. From the glory days of gleaming metal propliners to the technological marvels that are modern jet airliners, we’ve come a long way. Compare a rickety wooden first-generation flying machine with a sophisticated new airplane, and it’s amazing that the one evolved from the other.
The paradox is that as much as we love our technology and our complex flying systems, the pilot’s heart yearns for the simpler days of flight, when we’d strap on a wood-and-fabric airplane and fly around low and slow, experiencing the joy and wonder of man’s ultimate triumph over his environment. Flying is about so much more than going from A to B. To paraphrase Richard Bach in Jonathan Livingston Seagull,
You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment you touch the perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and Perfect Speed, my son, is being there.
The fact that human beings can fly at all is a miracle too often overlooked these days. Heritage flights inspire us and remind us of why we fly:
We fly because it’s awesome. That’s why.