Flying Above All………….

Life in Low Vis….


Visibility, vis, or viz…matters not the label. You simply cannot see adequately.

ZZ Top (or at least, a darn good clone) came out of the trailer that serves as Base Ops.

“Whaddya think?”

Is this a trick question?

Smoke so thick you can’t see across the runway. (you can barely make out the building on the other side).

He’s one of the good guys. Correctly views his job as more than just paper pushing…but as one of risk assessment, morale management, and personnel assessment. Kind eyes peer out from glasses that are either trendy, or left over from 1966. Gray beard that would give any serious rocker street cred.

I roll my eyes. Laughter ensues.

We’ve been briefing on the fires, listening to the weather, and being prepared. Some days, we fly. Some days, we sit. The fires continue to burn.

Navigation in smoke/haze is difficult. It’s a constant assessment of “where am I?” coupled with “where am I going?” tied together with constant assessment of progress, and avoidance of obstacles. It’s tough enough to see and avoid the snags (dead trees that extend above the forest canopy), and to avoid the side of the mountain when doing the necessary maneuvering.

It occurs to me that this year has been a continual “flight through haze”. From a dramatic loss of income (due to contract cancellation because of COVID) to an unexpected house sale, leaving me “homeless” (or, at least not knowing where I’ll be next), it’s been a constant assessment of immediate threat/obstacles.

Grateful for the decision decades ago to be financially conservative, it’s been possible to survive. (“Where am I?” answered). Seeing and avoiding the “snags” has been harder. So far, I’ve been successful. Navigating to the next safe place remains a challenge.

I continue the flight through the haze.

Author: planedoc

Having survived the medical world for a few decades, I'm pursuing flight, firefighting, wrench turning, and enjoying my family. I have a passion for "warbirds" specifically the P51 and T-6, the Corsair, and do airshows in those planes. I fly "The Mighty 802" fighting wildfires, and have a great time in my SX and Husky. Oh, yeah, I occasionally show up at the hospital and pass gas.

4 thoughts on “Life in Low Vis….

  1. Although I haven’t flown in years, I can relate to the personal upheavals and the “constant assessment of immediate threat/obstacles “.

    Best wishes and prayers, Doc. I continue to enjoy your writings.


  2. Flying in a haze, indeed. You’ve had quite the year in 2020, Doc. Hoping for clearer skies ahead. Been thinking of you w all the fire activity this year – stay safe.


  3. An image of Phil Robertson comes to my mind with your ZZ Top description!


  4. Stan, I just met you today as I rolled into the hanger pictured above. Our conversation was brief, the game of Corn Hole more so. But, after reading a years worth of your writing, I feel like I’ve known you for quite a while.

    More importantly, I now feel like I’ll know you for many years to come. At least I hope so.

    Thanks for your insights shared and the metaphors of life on which to hang them. I’m looking forward to every future crossing of our paths. May they be many!


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