Monday, April 4, 2011

Your tax dollars at work.

We have all joked about wasteful government spending. There is plenty. We all pay taxes and grimace when we give a huge percentage of our hard earned paychecks to the Federal government. Sometimes we forget that we really are the luckiest people on the planet. We live in a country where we have opportunities and freedoms unlike anywhere else in the world.

Every time I get into an aircraft and get to fly over this great land I try to appreciate the sacrifices of people that I will never know that allow us these freedoms.

At WaterWings I often have the privilege of training some of our military personnel in the art of seaplane flying. This is a particular thrill. I have trained students from Maxwell AFB, Columbus AFB, Fort Rucker and many other fine installations. I have had students who fly T-6s, Black Hawks, Comanches, Apaches, C-130s, C-17s, CH-47s, F-16s, F-18s, and this weekend I got to know an F22 pilot.

These pilots are always consummate professionals. I can show them how to perform a maneuver and they can do it as well or better than me in just a few tries. I get to hear stories about their training and some of their adventures, and I am humbled, amazed and honored to share seaplane flying with them. These are guys that are flying amazing equipment and have been trained by the best to be the best, and it shows. And we, at WaterWings, get to actually show them something new. They get great joy in driving my Cessna 150 with the ungainly pontoons around Lake Martin.

I get to fly my little airplane around the state of Alabama and beyond freely and without fear-- because these brave, highly skilled, highly trained aviators are equipped with truly extraordinary aircraft. All of this takes money, but more so it takes the dedication of our armed forces who are willing to put themselves in harm's way so that we can be as fortunate as we are.