My brother-in-law in Oregon has closed his hang gliding chapter* and opened a chapter that features the flying of very small airplanes. Hearing him describe his first plane, I came away picturing a couple of lawn chairs suspended beneath some wings, and not a lot else.
The plane he took us flying in this summer had an actual enclosed cockpit. While there are two seats inside, calling it a two-seater is a bit of a stretch; one and three-fourths is probably a better approximation.
Experts often have quite a different perspective on a subject than do more casual observers. If you’ve logged a fair number of commercial flights, you’ve probably experienced what you would call a bad landing or two, complete with a few bumps, some shuddering, perhaps even a skid. Passengers’ reactions can be audible–an involuntary little scream, maybe some gasps. Once the plane has slowed and all is safe, people tend to compare notes on other bad landings they have known, or complain and speculate about the skill of the cockpit crew.
But I’m told that from the perspective of the pilot of a small plane, things look different. During our day at the little airport in Hubbard, Oregon, I was told that any landing you can walk away from is a good landing, and any landing where you can use the plane again–that’s a great landing.
*I had reason to appeal to his hang glider experience when trying to understand the oppressive weather mystery in my local warming post, found here.