Artful FLYING Book

On a clear, cool Colorado morning, I fly low across barren plains, low enough to tell the difference between a goose and a duck on the mirrored pond just a couple hundred feet below. The little yellow Cub’s window is opened wide against the underside of the right wing; the pungent aroma of fresh-cut hay floods the sparse cockpit. Lightly, I hold the control stick between thumb and index finger as the Cub bobs gently through the late morning turbulence at a leisurely 55mph. The right wing of the little Piper lowers slightly, and I correct unconsciously with with left stick and little left rudder. When the airplane settles through cooler air over the pond, I add back-pressure to raise the nose…then bump the throttle forward slightly to stop the descent as the Cub slows to 45mph.

This is flying. Rendered down to bones, guts and feathers, this simple Sunday morning reverie is flight’s very essence.

Our entire flying world is contained in this simplicity, this mindless series of corrections from slight turns, climbs, and glides. These are the first things we learn as new flying students, and the basics we practice for a lifetime in the sky.

But there’s more to flying than soaring low across Colorado plains toward buttery Sunday pancakes and hot syrup. There’s more to it than safely getting from point A to point B. Flying is more than coaxing an airplane into the air and bringing it back to earth without breaking anything, more than shooting the perfect ADF approach or crosswind landing. Yes, there are many deeper levels of engagement beyond that.

Athletes, sculptors, painters, musicians, poets – and even some pilots – have discovered these same levels of engagement by simply viewing their effort as an artful process. And whether creating their masterpiece on canvas, CD, or in the cockpit, their artful process takes time, awareness, practice and patience.

The pursuit of the possible has developed into what I call “Artful Flying.”

Artful flying opens doors to a better way to approach our hours in the cockpit, a whole new dimension of discovery. This book will lead you into this richly rewarding world that promises to to make your flying safer, more challenging and, ultimately, deeply satisfying.

Michael Maya Charles

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