I was in primary flight training in Pensacola when I first came across "High Flight". I loved flying so much that I would do barrel rolls all the way out to the aerobatic practice area. This poem expressed exactly how I felt - and still feel - about the beauty and awesome thrill of flying in a single-engine plane. The only thing that even comes close is skiing. Like flying, you're always on the edge of control, and aware that any goof-up is usually due to your own "pilot error".


Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.
Sunward I've climbed and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along,
And flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept height with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high, untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
1922 - 1941

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