This is a portrait of a "Regional" airline pilot. He is standing beside the Embraer-145 aircraft which he flies while earning his living. He is amazed at the reality of our human progress since 1903 in the area of air transportation. He ponders the physical fact of 23 tons of metal, flammable liquid, goods and humans soaring though the sky at speeds over five hundred miles per hour, in the dark, in anticipation of a soft and safe landing on a spot of the earth of his intention. After fourteen years of flying this particular aircraft type he is still learning fascinating factoids of what the aeronautical engineers have designed into this incredibly complex machine. He holds a sincere appreciation for the professionalism of his peers and the myriad of personnel who work the other essential areas of the aviation industry, air traffic controllers, mechanics and flight dispatchers, just to name a few. He works diligently to uphold his standards and skills so as to be up to the grave responsibility which has been trusted to him.
Looking back at his flight logbook he remembers many of the flights like they happened yesterday, such as the one when he successfully landed in Champaign, IL, at night, in heavy fog, with a ten knot tail wind thus delivering a plane load of people home in time for Christmas. He is humbled to see over 19,000 hours of flight time in those logs, which considering that his flights average about an hour, could actually be the number of individual flights as well. He will never know the true number of people he has served, whom he has delivered safe and sound to family or business. He remembers flying in day time, night time, in winter storms, around countless thunderstorms, taking-off and landing in visibility which would make driving a car difficult, searching his mind for solutions to issues of serious import concerning fuel and alternate landing sites when the destination became unusable. Through all of those flights he had one goal on his mind - get it done safely. His one dream of the future is to fly that last flight on that last day before his legal limit birthday and to set the parking brake that last time, to sit back in profound gratitude for such a rewarding career and know that through it all, no one got hurt. Deo gratias!
So, with that in mind please forgive him if he gets his feelings hurt if while you are passing by the cockpit you exclaim, "Ewww, this airplane is so small!"