What it Takes to Fly
There is no way of getting around it- I love aviation. It fascinated me as a boy and it still fascinates me today. It astonished me that these man-made machines could laugh in the face of gravity. Over time, I would come to learn about lift, thrust, and aerodynamics… but the wonder never left.
To get a sense of wonder (or at least raise an eyebrow,) all it takes is to look at one plane. I’m not talking about the flying Greyhound buses that take off and land at O’Hare or LAX. I talking about aircraft designed to take flight without worrying about the price of checked baggage. It could be a simple Cessna, the legendary P-51 Mustang, an old-school biplane, or even the ear-shattering scream of a military jet.
As I look at planes more closely, I try to look deeper and imagine what’s happening beyond the propeller and the wings. I start to think about all the wiring, the mechanics, and those small miscellaneous parts and how they have to work together to get this machine off the ground. It is so much… and my imagination is limited.
Where I like to study at ICO, a big open room with plenty of windows, I can always find a plane in the sky. When I do spot a plane, a little sense of that wonder comes out. I think, “Wow.” Then, I look down at my notes and continue to study, even if I find myself asking, “I need to learn this for what, now?”
To my surprise, these obscure and tiny pieces of optometric information do have relevance, even if I can’t see it yet. It becomes clear to me that these details become my nuts and bolts. All those nuts and bolts translate to all the things it takes to be a fully-functioning OD. It takes so much more than most people might realize, especially when all they see is the big propeller (or the phoropter.)
In light of difficult classes and strange concepts: If all the nuts and bolts don’t come together, this thing will never take off!