January 20, 2024 - The Novelty and Awe of Flying Airplanes
Flying over the Seattle-area sound in the vicinity of Gig Harbor, WA
The reason that my Hierarchy of Fulfillment Framework has "Experiences of Novelty and Awe" at the top, is that there is research to support the notion that its these types of experiences (novel, and awe-inspiring), that brings fulfillment in life. If you watch children at their happiest, they are exploring and discovering new-to-them experiences. The only reason that this wonderment goes away is that we grow in to adults with longer term time horizons for gratification, and there are fewer and fewer experiences that are both novel and also are awe-inspiring.
I'm incredibly blessed and privileged to be able to be able to experience something as magical as flying an airplane. I can exploring the world from a unique vantage and "know" both the map and also the territory. It is a somewhat repeatable and consistent way to find awe-inspiring vantages within he world.
There is also the benefit of visiting far-off places on short day or weekend trips, making travel slightly more accessible (though an order of magnitude more expensive) than what is possible with a car within the same amount of time. In general aviation, a small plane can carry you to many airports in out-of-the-way places on a more flexible schedule than what commercial providers are able.
I also love to share the experience with people. I'm always sad when I fly by myself because I didn't ask find someone interested and able to come with me. Sometimes I've brought people with me who aren't impressed with the experience and have no interested in the magic of how the airplane works.
Though I am flying less frequently these past couple years due to both time and money constraints, I hope to make each of the flight I do go on that much more special. Already over the next couple months I have some flights booked to take loved ones on overnight adventures that we intend to travel to via airplane.
For the aviators reading this, yesterday I flew a Cirrus SR-22T G6 under IFR for a few hours and conducted three instrument approaches. One each at KHQM , KTIW , and KRNT. I was under the hood for about half the time. I flew an ILS and two RNAV approaches, two with autopilot and one hand flown. In hindsight, I should have hand-flown the VOR at KHQM and next time will plan it that way with an optional circling approach depending on the active runway that the wind is favoring.