Friday, October 3, 2008

Incurable Madness

What can be said of a man who returns home from his daily toil and throws up the colossal ruse that, in order to relax, he must toil again? Does the surgeon come home and dissect rabbits after dinner? Does the accountant relax before the fire and eagerly immerse himself in the paperback edition of Generally Accepted Accounting Practices? Does a farmer leave the field after a tough day’s work yearning to dig in the vegetable garden? And why would I come home war weary from airline rat races and then head to the nearest airport?

I’ll tell you why—to hear those words crackling through my headset that promise the ultimate form of relaxation is at hand: Yak Flight, check in.

Yak 2
Yak 3

Yak 4

Freedom is Flying, so goes the proverb, but formation flying seems to (excuse me) fly in the face of that proverb. As a wingman, you are not free to maneuver as you please, to go where you will, all those things recreational pilots extol. The wingman is as captive as the slave, the incarcerated criminal, the assembly line worker. For him to stray is calamity. Why, then, do us few eccentrics who seem to enjoy this madness consider it relaxation?

Adrenalin, dude. That’s what it’s about.

At last weekend’s annual Moontown Airport Fly-fest we assembled six Yaks and Nanchangs form around the area and flew from sun up to sun down both days, concocting fly-bys, different formation shapes, opposing passes, smoke passes, and various position changes, taking passengers, delighting onlookers, and having a grand time. Occasionally some of us would break away from the formation routine and do some hard core aerobatics. A million pictures must have been shot, and Jimmy Holt has made about 100 of them available on his Flikr site:

As the weekend flashed by, dozens of people emerged from the crowds and asked to ride our backseats, but most had to be politely turned down because promises of those seats had been out for weeks. But one little boy, about 10, kept nagging us for a ride. Wouldn’t go away. Clung to us like a hungry mutt from the time we climbed down till the next mount-up. 

The little boy’s persistence finally got him his ride late Sunday afternoon. I hope it doesn’t inflict him with this incurable madness that infects some of us, but I suspect he went away plotting a future that would take him soaring into the heights of insanity. I hope he makes it.

If Yak madness inflicts you too, look on the right side menu of the Decision Height home page and click, “Yak Heaven,” Moontown Airport,” and “Just the Way He Dreamed It.” Good luck.
Here are a few of Jimmy's pics

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