Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dolphin Flight


In gliders it's called dolphin flight.

In rising air the craft is slowed;
it lingers in the lift.

In sinking air the speed's increased
to exit from the sink.

The craft arcs up then plunges down,
a dolphin playing in the waves.

The wing's finesse is sacrificed; finesse
is local, but essence is global.  The larger
picture wins.

Power corrupts the picture with the opposite
effect.

The power pilot, sinking, slows the craft.

The power pilot, climbing, adds more speed.

The power pilot lingers in the sink,
and exits from the lift.

At times this is the only course.

In clouds the craft must hold the altitude
strictly; a change of height raises the
spectre of colliding with a craft below.
Holding altitude wastes the essense the glider
pilot gleans from the movement of the air.

A collision robs the craft of all of its finesse.

But when flight is pure the need for stricture
disappears.  Essence is more important
than altitude.

Seeking essence, the power pilot
in rising air slows less than a glider might
but nonetheless allows the craft to climb.
In sinking air, allow the craft to sink.

Altitude is essence.

Every push or pull of the controls uses
essence.  More essence than an engineer can calculate:
the constant jerking angers, or worries, passengers.

The air's whims cannot pass unchecked.  If the
craft climbs too high the peril of hypoxia might
raise its euphoric head.

If the craft sinks too low there is the peril of the ground.

A small change brings on none of these
effects, so let the craft rise or sink a little
with the air.


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