Monday, October 24, 2016

Aerial Art

My father had his private pilots license, and I fondly remember him “renting” a Cessna 150 to take me flying with him when I was a youngster (he had also been a part-owner of an old Piper Cub but it was before my time). My uncle (Dad's brother) was a career pilot in the U.S. Air Force (he served in Germany with future Apollo 15 commander David Scott). Plus, I've mentioned previously that my grandmother (their mother) was a "Rosie the Riveter" who helped build U.S. Navy Corsair fighter planes during World War II. So I guess there is some love of aviation in my genes.

With my recent travels from my home island, I got to spend a good bit of time flying. I always try to get a window seat, because I am mesmerized by the views. I took pictures from my various flights and will share some of them with you. I hope you find them as interesting as I do.

The photo above shows the moment I was over American soil again. That is Fort Lauderdale, Florida as my plane left the ocean, crossed the beach, and descended to the airport.
The pictures above and below were taken when it appeared as if these two ships (tankers?) were being “sucked into” the jet engine intake just outside my window (most other ships I saw didn't line up with the intake exactly right).
The next half-dozen pictures show various islands in the Bahamas chain (technically, a few might be from the Turks & Caicos islands—it's hard to tell them all apart), as my return flight flew from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico. The first photo below shows an island that was off to our side, and thus a bit harder to see. However, I like it because it shows the winglet on the end of the wing, plus it gives you a sense of how the sky gets darker blue the higher you look—and it would become black if you get high enough above the atmosphere. I am always in a state of awe when I fly!
Here are five pictures taken virtually overhead of the islands. Notice the channels that can be seen in the sandy shallow waters. Each picture has its own unique characteristics, but all of them have those beautiful blue (deep water) and aqua (shallow water) colors. While I hope you find them picturesque, my camera doesn't totally capture how colorful it was to my eyes.
These are just a five of the islands we flew over—there were many more, plus some incredible views of San Juan as we came in to land there. I thought about posting the Puerto Rico pictures, too, but they just weren't as beautiful as the island pictures.
I thought the photo above was fascinating, because my phone's camera was able to capture at least a distorted view of the propeller in motion. The turboprop engine on this LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport) airplane is turning thousands of revolutions per minute, yet the camera could freeze it. I'm not sure why more blades (too many, actually) are shown on top than on bottom—perhaps because they were coming towards me rather than moving away. Regardless, I found it very interesting.
The photo above shows the runway at Dominica's major airport, which is built in a valley that leads to the edge of the Atlantic. Most of the time, my flights have taken off in the direction of the ocean, while arriving planes maneuver through the twists and turns of the upper valley before descending onto the runway for landing. The photo below shows a view of the jungle as the plane banks sharply through one of the turns.
During my return from the United States, I was on the Seaborn Airlines flight that often buzzes over our village. At the conclusion of my blog story about my other trip home, I show a great picture of my village that I took on that earlier flight.

Unfortunately, the view on this trip was not nearly as good. The plane was further out over the Atlantic, plus the sun was going down over the mountains (our village is squeezed between the coastline and the mountains). However, it is clearly our village, with the peninsula of “L'islet” jutting out towards the airplane.

Even if it can't be seen as well in this picture, it is always good to return to my island home! [West Virginia is my home, but Dominica will always be my island home.]

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