Monday, February 22, 2010

Avgeek Origins

You've not seen a tree until you've seen it's shadow from the sky. -Amelia Earhart

Ms. Earhart's simple, yet profound quote encapsulates a lifestyle that a number of us live and breath on a daily, if not hourly basis. I'm not a pilot, but a few months ago I flew a friend's high-wing beauty, a Cessna Skyhawk around the Susquehanna & Cumberland Valleys and for a few hours first-hand lived what Earhart's quote expresses. It's one thing to be passenger on a plane, it's a completely different animal to pilot one.

Since I am not a pilot, I consider my career the next best thing to indulging in my avgeek proclivities! I am convinced that working at an airport is not for the faint of heart. The sheer excitement of being in the constant presence of those big metal birds is enough to make my heart burst within the confines of its thoracic cavity. Seriously, if you think aviation is only for the birds, you're missing out!

For those not familiar with the term avgeek, in short it's someone delighted, enamored, okay, okay...let's be honest, down right obsessed with all things aviation. In other words, an aviation geek. Avgeek, get it? My initiation into the avgeek community didn't commence with my career at @HIAairport. In fact, I'm about to admittedly date myself and cop to the fact that when I was 8 in 1988, I fell in love with aviation and big metal birds when I boarded my first-ever flight, destined for Detroit. It's been nonstop avgeekiness (Disclaimer: I am quite comfortable coining new terms) ever since.

My avgeek affliction is so bad that I must hearken back to earlier Levity and Irony posted at the turn of 2010. I mentioned that I fully intended to eliminate my squirrel moments from my repertoire. I should come clean and admit that a plane flying overhead within earshot of yours truly is my last lingering, squirrel moment stronghold. So much so, that I fully believe it impossible for me to refrain!

Are you a member of the avgeek tribe? When were you indoctrinated?


  1. Thought I'd add a poem on a similar theme. My Dad read this at my Wedding:

    High Flight

    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
    Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

    Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
    I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

    Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
    I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace

    Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    — John Gillespie Magee, Jr

  2. Oh Stephanie - I am SO trying not to picture myself in 1988 - as a college graduate whilst you were taking your first flight! Makes me feel old!

    But I do love to fly, although don't know that I qualify as an avgeek. I was blessed to be raised in a family that traveled constantly and far. My first flight was probably overseas as a toddler.

    Can't wait for Spring though - and my first flying lesson!

  3. I have been a member of the avgeek tribe since I was born. I took my first flight when I was only a few weeks old (I believe it was a DC-9) to visit my grandparents.

    The first thing I ever constructed with wood and nails was a crude bi-plane. I did this in Kindergarten (back when kids were allowed to get scraped up and hurt).

    My dad used to take me on weekends to the parking lot of the old Avro/McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing plant north of rwy 23 here at YYZ. We'd sit and watch the planes land and takeoff.

    Like Laura, I'm planning on taking up flying this spring. I've got Jet-A in my veins and my neck is constantly sore from all the craning it does at the planes overhead.

    But I wouldn't live my life any other way.