Tender Touchdown Desired

 Learning How to Be Gentle

In the world of aviation most stories revolve around a propeller, fuel tank, or hard landing. In my world of aviation the action also revolved around the people I met during the journey.

In the early years of my entrepreneurship (my wife would term it a disease) I found that aviation was the format for meeting some very interesting people under some amazing circumstances. People who love airplanes know how to let their hair down and laugh. Even some people who are termed “celebrity” are relaxed when they are in the environment of flight. wish we had more of that in our culture today.

Learning to Fly

When I was learning to fly as a teenager I was sure my instructor was a celebrity. He always came up with these super bright and intelligent sayings that I felt were world changing. Maybe I felt that way because I wanted so badly to learn to fly and he was my conduit to success. He gave me some very sound advice. He said if terror overcomes your common sense the scene is going to get ugly. His point was simple. Never give up on trying to solve the puzzle or dilemma. After I banged the airplane onto the runway a couple of times rather than landing smoothly he smiled and said,” I suggest you take your aggression out on  something other than the runway.”

Bob ( the instructor's name was Bob Williamson ) described the correct process was to slowly have the airplane touch down as the runway rose up to meet the tires. It sounds more poetic now than it did then but it was a good lesson in life as well. I find myself hitting things hard that I should be approaching more softly. The result would be a smoother outcome and a gentle reunion.


It took me a while to trust his advice but when I finally trusted his wisdom, my landings improved. One of my favorite bible verses is found in Isaiah 40:31  “But those who put their trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

I cannot add to that verse. Personally, I must admit that I cannot soar like an eagle and touch down softly. Many of my landings are more like a tank dropping onto the runway from 10 feet.  Maybe somewhere in between would be a better description?


 Stay tuned for some more aviation experiences.