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ChapterGram: November 2013

Why Build an Airplane?


By Mike Clayton, EAA 802344, EAA Chapter 44

Why build an airplane? Why build anything?

People are unique on earth. They seem to, for the most part, be driven to build things. Now these "things" are not necessarily bridges, buildings, cars, airplanes, or any other stuff - although a lot of us do these things. We also build relationships, families, stories, legends, and other less tangible things. We want to create something new.

Sometimes, the things we build are good and sometimes they are not. Close friendships and families are good things; building financial or political empires at any cost are usually not. Good things are built using the best parts of us and are usually admired and emulated by other people. They serve as examples for the rest of us to follow, if we so choose.

Building an airplane is a good metaphor for understanding why we do these good things, because in the end, the reasons are the same.

We take pleasure in using our hearts, minds, hands, and really, our souls to create something that transcends our everyday existence. Creating something that allows us to fly like the birds is such a thing. More than that, we usually do something like this in concert with others. Thus, we are not only creating something amazing and marvelous, but we are building relationships and friendships that will enrich our lives. So we end up with a thing that lets us fly which is almost a miracle. We have also built some other things that are intangible but in a way are also like the miracle of human friendships.

We may build an airplane with other adults, and this is rewarding. Even more rewarding is sharing the experience with children who see the result as something that they could only dream about. Such things are often life-changing experiences for all concerned.

Flying like a bird, touching the face of God, meeting new people, sharing these experiences, and using our hearts, hands, and minds to achieve these things represent some of the finest things that humans can accomplish.

This is why we build an airplane...

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