Advanced Aircraft

I am fascinated by flight.

There are about four dozen aircraft based at our little airport, and it’s a curious mix. About half are 40 years old or more, but well-maintained and strong as the day they were made. Others were invented by the brilliant young people in our resident aerospace company, taking aviation in directions we had not imagined.

It’s not a simple thing, to launch a machine into the air and bring it safely home. It requires structural strength, aerodynamic balance, and lots of thrust, lift, and controllability. Safe piloting requires vision, skill, and spatial awareness.

Professional pilots often spend $100,000 or more to be trained, yet about half of the aircraft on our field fly autonomously, with no human pilot.

The power, agility, and miniaturization of these aircraft are stunning, and the most advanced run exclusively on biofuels. Some excel at precise flight over long distances and others harness the energy of thermals to remain aloft for extended missions with little expenditure of energy.

In the pursuit of sustainability (and this is particularly remarkable), some can fabricate replacements for damaged parts and even construct an entirely new aircraft of the same model.

It is a marvelous thing to fly; to roar into the sky and sweep through the clouds in our stiff-winged machines, and it is a wonderful thing that brilliant men and women have made this possible.

Still, I am occasionally reminded of our profound inferiority to the fleet of advanced aircraft that shares our airspace. Just now, one has landed on the branch above me and begun to sing.

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Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Matthew 6:26

What do you think? We'd love to know...