Flight Time: Soothsayers, Stooges, Sages and Thunder.


Time is pretty sneaky when hooked up with his silent partner, motion. You think you’ve got all the time in the world–and relatively speaking, maybe you do–but where you’re headed will force your hand nonetheless.

Can I get by everything in my way? Am I above it all? Or do I need to change course? Ah, the curse of forethought and the knowledge of a future rushing your way.

Can you really look too far ahead, and if you do, can you get an accurate picture of what’s in your way? Can we trust the seers and soothsayers we look to for their view of the future?

Do they really know, or are they just telling you what they see, rather than what’s real?

There’s no shortage of people with answers to sell but that all depends on your buy-in: do they really have the answer you need? Can they see the path ahead of you? Even if they can, what will change between the time they give their view and when the picture ahead becomes near and real?

Can you really have faith in either art or science claiming to transcend the barriers of time and space and help you understand the future? I guess some people do, because they continue to ask the experts for a vision or at least a forecast.

Always good to have options, right? And a backup plan.

And information is always good, with a catch: predictions, visions and forecasts are all helpful, but nothing beats realtime information. What’s happening right now? What’s happening on the path ahead this minute, this second?

That’s where time and place coincide: worry is because there’s nothing you can do until they meet.

Now the picture is clear–not a prediction, not a forecast, but at last, square in your face. Now you can take action: evaluate your options. You could wait:

Fine a place to hold off to the side until the storm passes. Of course, that presumes we’re talking about a “passing storm,” not anything permanent.

Another option would be to plow right on through and hope it’s just a temporarily bumpy ride:

Some folks choose to plunge headlong into the storm. Maybe they’re mislead by the earliest look at things–where maybe from afar there seems to be a safe passage through the ugliness, based on a forecast or an earlier report. “Look–a sucker hole. Can we make it before it closes up?” That puts YOU in the business of predicting the future.

And the only thing predictable with perfect reliability is that things will continue to change. Opportunities for safe passage vanish in an instant and there you are, nose to nose with big trouble. With the escape path blocked. With no options but straight ahead.

Oops! The sucker hole is closing fast . . .

Where are the soothsayers now? Where’s the clear path, based on a few minutes ago? That’s why I’m a confirmed pessimist, at least at work. Expect the worst. Count on it. Plan for it.

I knew this was going to happen. So we have a couple tons of fuel to spare–we can outlast the storm. We can go the extra miles around the tumult and so just not care what it does in the near term–or ever.

Well folks, slight delay here as we give trouble a wide berth. We didn’t worry too much in our flight planning as to whether there’d be problems along the way–rather, we just planned on it. And so we have the range we need to keep life smooth for all of us.

Don’t really need soothsayers or good luck charms–just tons of fuel and patience.

Like mayhem in life, lightning in flight is best enjoyed as a spectator:

That’s life. Craziness is fine, as long as you’re just a casual observer and can step around the insanity. Forget the soothsayers and stooges telling you what they think you want to hear. You already know what you need to dodge the thunder.

Here’s how that looks from the flight deck. You can relax in back and enjoy the view–we’ve got time and distance all under control for you.

There’s always a way around, if you’re ready now, never mind “then” or whatever “they” predict. It’s a big sky, thankfully. Plan accordingly.

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7 Responses to “Flight Time: Soothsayers, Stooges, Sages and Thunder.”

  1. …beautiful pix and as yoda says, ” always in motion is the future…”

  2. blackwatertown Says:

    Going round is fine by me.

  3. Haha! Does that make atc the stooges? Sometimes I feel that way when I have to inaccurately call the weather based on a 6-8 minute delay and all we see is precip! Plow on my friend! Or skirt the edges…..

    • Nah–I think ATC controllers and I are alike: do your best, then stand back and watch the mayhem. Couldn’t believe that 757 was headed for the dark spot . . .

  4. I want video feed from your point of view. All I get is what I can see out of my little side window – when I get the window. I think it would be much more interesting to punch up your view in that silly little screen in my face, the back of the seat in front of me. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to try and give you driving advice – it just looks so much more interesting then Cops rerun #445. Or the little plane moving across the map which is better then nothing mind you. Cool storm. Glad you’re driving and not me. thnx.

    • Used to have a video camera mounted behind the captain on the DC-10 fleet to show take-offs and landings on the screens in the cabin. That went away in the late 80’s as a few passengers called CNN to report that they’d seen a “near miss” or supposedly something improper procedurally. It would be even worse now with cell phone cameras and on-board WiFi. Guess that’s just the unfortunate side effect of the instant communications age!

  5. Dude, I’m in awe! Awesome pics and philosophizing!

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