SW Aviator Magazine - June/July 1999 issue
One For The Sky
by John Blatchley
A friend, fond of telling me the highlights of her social life, visited my office on a Monday. “Hey John, you'll never guess what happened this weekend,” she said, as I filtered through the paperwork on my desk.

Do I want to know?” I asked sarcastically.

I believe you do,” she said confidently as she plopped down in a chair across from me. She started telling her story with no provocation on my part. “Friday night, I met the girls for happy hour after work, and got to talking to a really interesting man at the bar…”

Interesting, huh? What made him interesting? Does he do scientific studies on the effects of alcohol on the social gatherings of men and women? Was he doing research as the two of you spoke? I continued pondering the meaning of interesting as she plodded on through the details of the conversation, listening only when something which I felt was interesting came up.

It turns out he’s a pilot. Maybe you know him. He said he flies in and out of the area on a regular basis.” She continued on, and I started to pay greater attention.

At first I was counting the minutes before I could get some work done alone; now I wanted to hear more about this fellow aviation buff—a man who lives for the wind beneath his wings. This was someone who, at any given moment, could be sharing my airspace.

Anyway, we talked pretty much all night, had a few drinks, danced, had a few more drinks…”

Okay, I thought. Get to the part where he is mature, educated, and responsible. The part where he asks you to go flying with him one day and you agree. The part where you two take to the skies, let the safety of altitude harness your budding relationship. The part where you become a member of the Mile High Club.

He asked if I would fly with him the next morning,” she said. Right on cue.

Then she surprised me.

But I said no.”

What was she talking about? How could she pass up the opportunity to fly? Why had she prefaced this story’s whimper of an ending with such a lengthy buildup?

Why didn’t you go?” I asked.

Haven’t you been listening to me?” she asked accusingly. “I just finished telling you we stayed up all night drinking. No way would I get anywhere near that man in an airplane!”

There it was: something interesting—and important. I was impressed by my friend’s judgment.

And so I began to write this story. I heard a saying once that went something like this: Those who hoot with the owls at night should not fly with the eagles by day.

My friend believes this. I believe this. But not every pilot who shares our skies believes this. And that’s what irritates me.

I am an eagle. I fly for the love of flying, yet I am often endangered by those who take to the skies after a night of hooting.

Fly for business. Fly for pleasure. But please fly sober.

For those of you who would like more information on what this story is about, please review FAR 91.17 for clarification.

Click Here To Return To The Beginning Of This Article.

The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibilty for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising out of it. Fly safe.