Yes, tall people can be pilots

Tall Pilot with a Piper Cherokee

Usually I’m blogging about transportation that stays on the ground, but I thought I’d reassure tall people that they can be as comfortable piloting an aircraft as they can driving a car. It’s rarer, but possible nonetheless.

I’ve been fascinated with airplanes ever since Dad drove me out to Lunken Airport in Cincinnati to watch Cessnas and Pipers roar to life and climb up out of “Sunken Lunken.” When I was in college I spent weekends working on the ramp fueling and loading regional jets at CVG for Comair, and when I moved to Oklahoma I was ready to start taking lessons.

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My Ranz des Vaches


Apparently we’d taken a wrong turn onto some dark back road in Sandusky. My sister’s boyfriend reached into the cooler in the back seat and then smacked himself lightly in the face with ice-cold water to stay awake.

I was maybe twelve years old, on the way back from a day trip to Cedar Point, and this was perhaps the first time I’d been more than an hour from home. The darkness was disorienting and we seemed lost during a time before personal GPS.

During the drive, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound” came onto the radio. I broke down and wept.

Other songs have had a similar effect on me. Danny Boy. Shenandoah. Fiddler’s Green. Nimrod from the Enigma Variations. Ashokan Farewell. There’s another song that is my kryptonite, which I’ll let you know about in a minute. Lately I wondered why songs like these had such a strong effect on me. It turns out that people have experienced this response to music for a very long time, and it was the subject in discovering the concept of “nostalgia.”

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