Creatures of the Sky
Updated: Aug 19
For aviation lovers and the curious alike
"Flying says to us: Don’t tell me who you are by letters after your name, a list of accomplishments or numbers in your bank account; tell me who you are by how well you fly this airplane. I will now give you a 30-knot crosswind. I don’t care who you are,
but I do care if you’ll keep this thing going straight down the runway."
~ Richard Bach, Author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull
As a boy I would run with a small metal twin engine plane in my hand imagining I was flying just above the waves. Pilots and planes were a big part of my life growing up on Cat Island in the Bahamas. One such aviator I had the good fortune to meet on Cat was Bill Lear, American inventor and businessman, best known for founding Learjet. He gave me some advice when I was around 14 years old - and he put it in writing (see below) - which I took to heart.
I would later get my pilot's license and instrument rating as Lear recommended. I flew several new Cessnas from Wichita, KS to Fort Lauderdale, FL, and crossed the country in a 210 before most kids had their driver's license. I was passionate about aviation then, and the thrill remains with me today as a writer and photographer based in Olympic Valley, CA.
I hope the photographs here (a total of 19 images below) resonate with you and encourage you to consider getting your pilot's license, or at least adopt a greater appreciation for the power and elegance of these creatures of the sky.
"For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly." ~ Jonathan Livingston Seagull
"Don't loaf and invite inspiration, light out after it with a club, and if you don't get it you will none the less get something that looks remarkably like it."
~ Jack London
The other legend of aviation, and one of America's bravest heroes I've had the good fortune to know and call friend, is WWII triple ace fighter pilot, Brig. Gen. Clarence E. "Bud" Anderson. Bud is 101 years old and continues to attend airshows to share his love and passion of aviation with people of all ages. As mentioned in the preface of his book, To Fly and Fight, "Bud is living proof that enthusiasm isn't necessarily a thing you outgrow."
Photo of bronze monument of Bud Anderson outside Wings Bar & Grille at the Auburn Municipal Airport.
My hero, mentor, and friend, Brigadier General "Bud" Anderson, on July 23rd, 2022,
making another featured speaking engagement at age 100 (!) at the 2022 Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival.
Bud Anderson holding a photo I took of his statue outside of Wings Bar & Grille at Auburn Municipal Airport.
Bud Anderson honorarily promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General on December 2nd, 2021,
in a rare and historic ceremony presided over by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.
The planes and jets photographed here are moving 600 mph standing still. They're powerful, elegant, and elevate the spirit. Let them, and great people like Brig. Gen. Bud Anderson remind you to light out after inspiration like you did as a child... or at least something that looks remarkably like it.
Hello! I’m Michael Kennedy (photo above by Nicola Kennedy), Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a freelance writer, photographer, and teacher. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any awe-inspired photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, or just call or text at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: email@example.com.