Clipped Wings.

Owen Zupp Storm

Clipped Wings

To the north and south, dark clouds with ragged bases bubbled high into the upper atmosphere. The ongoing rumble of thunder was intermeshed with the sudden cracks that follow lightning weaving to the ground.

In a gap between nature’s tantrums, a patch of incongruous blue acted as a haven for transiting aircraft above. In quick succession, three “Dash-8s” threaded the corridor between the violence, their white fuselages brilliant as rays of sunlight struck them, beaming down from above the cloud tops. One by one they slid by at haste. Below, at ground level, I passed my three-kilometre mark with another unremarkable step – wishing that I was up there.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the “gate holds” and continual diversion calculations that adverse weather delivers. I miss the best seat in the house. The ability to observe nature’s majesty from the stratosphere, albeit at a safe distance. As the radar screen on the flight deck paints red storm cells tinged with the purple flecks of turbulence, the view outside is far more fascinating and sometimes more informative to the trained aviator’s eye. The water mass, the vertical currents, the fury. As humble humans, we may be able to create power stations and nuclear reactions but nature can devastate when she shrugs her shoulders. There is beauty in these displays of her power, however, treating the lady with respect is paramount.

So, my wings are clipped for the moment and I continue, step after boring step, motivated by the thought that these kilometres may be the key in my reinstatement to altitude. My ticket to the best seat in the house. For the moment I must remain content to watch the drama unfold from a different perspective, with my back craned and my face skyward. Only time will tell.


Owen Zupp Aviation Books