One Year

I can fly a plane!
Taken by UVU CFI Joshua Smith, SMIJ

A year ago, today (I started this post when it was still Saturday) I achieved something I had dreamed of for longer than I could remember.  I successfully completed my Private Pilot checkride, and earned a pilot’s license.

Flying is expensive, and I haven’t been in an airplane since my checkride.  Every day, I think about the 58.8 hours I spent as a pilot, especially the 9 hours as PIC (Pilot in Command), for 7.5 hours of which I was the sole occupant of an aircraft.  It’s slightly surreal to be handed the keys to a $125,000 aircraft and sent on your way.

My experience as an aviator was incredible.  Never have I worked so hard, or been rewarded so greatly.  I learned and and perfected skills such as situational awareness, planning, risk management, crew resource management, and task management.

 

Perhaps it was a mistake to pursue the dream of flight without the financial means to see it through to the end.  But I don’t think so.  Flight was one of the greatest thing I’ve done.  Even though it almost physically hurt to attend an airshow today, and see all the planes I am qualified to fly but can’t afford, I remember the peace I felt and my love of flight, driving me towards my next flight.

The photo was taken by my excellent flight instructor Joshua Smith, aka SMIJ.  I’m holding my temporary license.

Lake Powell Rant

Lake Powell is a misnomer.

The word “lake” suggests something natural, a low point in the land where water collected.  Ducks swim, fish leap, reeds grow on the sides.  Perhaps trees grow on the shore.

Lake Powell is a reservoir.  Previous to the monstrous Glen Canyon Dam, the Colorado River flowed uninhibited through Glen Canyon on through the Grand Canyon.  Now much of Glen Canyon is submerged under the almost stagnant waters.  Tourists in houseboats distribute rafts of trash over wonders they could scarcely comprehend.

Along with the Anasazi ruins, the town of Hite was submerged.  To add insult to injury, the Hite Marina, named after the soggy village, is now rarely used due to the low water levels.

Perhaps most offensive of all, they named the reservoir after the one armed explorer, John Wesley Powell, who explored the river gorge now covered by the reservoir.  More insulting than naming a shopping mall after whatever was cut down to make room, one has to wonder what they were thinking when they chose a name.

Whether the Reservoir is and was truly necessary is yet to be seen.  The water and power it provides will hopefully become less essential as we move towards more efficient management of resources.  As silt fills the reservoir, and the zebra and quagga muscles clog the machinery, alternatives must be found.  But as long as the Reservoir remains, we can be certain people will be dragged around by speedboats, most too young to remember what used to be.  A canyon was sacrificed for water and power, and most who benefit are unaware.