Thursday, 25 August 2011

Amongst the Clouds

Flight has held a certain fascination for me since I was a child. I was hooked at my first airshow as a youth.

There is a particular quality to the rumble the engine of a high performance bi plane makes, or the piercing sound a jet fighter makes as it slices its way through the sky at sub sonic speed.

These days it's not about aerial acrobatics or subsonic speed, it's about turbo prop aircraft, cabin altitudes and making people comfortable for the short time I have them.

I'm a flight paramedic doing medevac work in northern Canada. Because Aboriginal Canadians are so far from tertiary care, they are looked after by nurses in nursing stations until such time as we can arrive, assume care and transport them to definitive care. 

For me, its a combination of two passions - working as a paramedic and being able to fly.

There is a particular quality to the smell burned aviation fuel (Jet A1) has. For those that fly, dare I call it an aroma. It has a pungent yet sweet smell. It's somewhat concerning, but my daughter has taken to identifying it when we're at the airport. "Mmmm ... Dad! We're close - av gas!"

But nothing compares to when the pilots I fly with are required to 'hand fly' around large, dense clouds. It is a pleasure to watch them work, sliding around and underneath these clouds, feeling gravity pull you, but seeing the smiles creep across their faces. This isn't work to them at this point. It's being paid to experience the Earth.

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