Sunday, October 07, 2012

Crazy Adrenaline Junkie Daredevil?

     A lot of people that know me personally think I'm crazy. This even includes people that I think are crazy themselves. These people think I fly "dangerous" flying contraptions. I see things a little differently. I would never own a motorcycle because I don't like the lack of protection around me. I also don't like the idea of skydiving because I'm not looking for an adrenaline thrill, I don't like the fatality rate, and the sport tends to attract a number of wacky people (probably the reason why the fatality rate is so high). Having said that some of my motorcycle and skydiving friends think that I'm a crazy daredevil taking on dangerous activities.

     Our world is filled with amazing experiences. I'm all about watching the sunset from an ocean cliff, eating nothing but tacos for dinner at a taco bar in San Francisco, going on 20 mile bike rides that winds along a river, camping on a sand dune, and sailing in a zippy little Laser sailboat. These are all things I've done. It's about experiencing life and exploring the world and there's no special qualifications for you to do the exact same things. These are things that people don't generally consider dangerous, but there are inherent dangers in all of these activities. You can fall off the cliff, get a poisoned taco, crash into another biker, get bit by a scorpion, and drown under the sail of the Laser after a gust of wind capsizes the boat. The reason why we aren't afraid of doing these sorts of things is because we all understand how to manage these risks.

     Eating, biking, watching the sunset and these sorts of things is a poor analogy to flying because people understand the risks involved. On the contrary, most people don't even understand how aircraft even flies, not to mention the actual risks involved. They don't understand how to manage the risks associated with flying like they know how to manage the risk of going on a bike ride. Knowledge is power - without it, how can anyone assess how dangerous something is? Their thoughts about it is only a projection of their perception.

     I enjoy the many different flavors of flying. Whether I'm cruising to lunch in a Cessna 150, soaring along the steep ocean cliffs in Pacifica in a paraglider, doing loops and rolls in an RV-7 (future plane), or exploring the area in a Pterodactyl Ascender, I'm addicted to flying. I don't jump off cliffs with the paraglider, but fly off them (many times you will begin flying before reaching the edge). I have never lost control while doing acro and although it's possible, regaining control is not life or death when you are at least 3 mistakes over the ground. It's impossible to randomly fall out of the sky for no reason when flying the Cessna and lastly, the Pterodactyl Ascender has flown for over 30 years and has proven itself to not randomly disintegrate while flying along.

     I will admit that it's really frustrating when people think that flying is appealing only for the adrenaline rush. Quite frankly, the last time I felt an adrenaline rush was when I was flying with a former friend who seriously messed up, which led to several life threatening situations. I'm not doing a good job proving my point by sharing that example, but over the many, many countless hours where risk was managed properly, flying is relaxing, euphoric, adventurous, and tremendously rewarding. How do I prove my point? Unless I sit down with them for the hours it takes to educate them on how it all works and how the risk is minimized, there is no simple way for me to show them how it really is. The only quick and easy thing I can do is refer them to this post ;)

 Watching the sunset in Dave Frobe's Ascender

The Preflight Nazzi

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