I just watched a couple of excellent documentaries.
The first was One Six Right. It's a beautifully filmed documentary that specifically relates the history of California's Van Nuys Airport, but generally relates the importance of an airport to its surrounding area. It's told largely through interviews with pilots, historians, controllers, and busness owners who rely on the airport. The cinematography is fantastic, including perfectly composed shots of warbirds, biplanes, aerobatic aircraft, bizjets, and more. I had the most serious case of rentaplaneandgoflying-itis ever after seeing this.
It's a counter to all the NIMBY people and real estate developers who view general aviation airports as either a noise nuisance or a waste of valuable land that can be used for, I don't know, a strip mall. The irony is that if either of those groups succeeds in killing a GA airport, they'll likely be the first to complain about increasing delays at the larger airports in their area. Well, remember those corporate jets, police / medical / TV helicopters, flight schools, and other essential aviation services? They need to go somewhere.
(Man, I love the sound of that P-51's V-12 Merlin)
On First Solos:
Second was Speed and Angels, a documentary that came out last year about two Navy pilots wanting to become F-14 Tomcat fighter pilots. Each pilot has their own specific issues. One is a woman, which of course invites all of the "man's world" stigmas. The other is a guy whose callsign is "Faceshot", named as such because he was shot in the face as a teenager and recovered, but now has trouble convincing doctors he is medically qualified to fly. It follows both pilots through their dogfight training, carrier qualification training, and eventual deployment to Iraq.
I found the movie quite inspirational without being jingoistic - it's not anti-war or pro-war. It just tells an honest, straightforward story about two people fighting against the odds and succeeding.
4 days ago