Course Corrections

Course Corrections Benjamin Juster

In my 20s, I earned my private pilot license for small, single engine airplanes. There is not much that I’ve experienced in life  that compares to the freedom of lifting off from a long stretch of runway, climbing above the tree lined horizon, and  into the expansive sky. The landscape shifts and perspective changes. Mountains, rivers, houses and highways look  familiar, yet so much different from above.

All pilots learn early on that a plane in flight becomes an inseparable component of the earth’s atmosphere. Without an  anchor or tether to the ground, the plane is subject to the varied winds and air currents. This knowledge is especially  important to consider when plotting a course from one point to another. For example, I may plan to fly to an airport that is  in a town that is situated due east from me. If I set my direction and point the nose of the airplane directly east (90  degrees on a compass), I might think that I’ll arrive at my destination eventually. But what if the winds are blowing out of the South?

Read the full article here: October ’23 Issue 25