Time to Fly!

The Judith River ~ Central Montana

Even if I managed to get to central Montana and found a pilot willing to skim his airplane along a sinuous river, I’m more accustomed to seeking ground-level views of flora and fauna: better to leave an overview of the landscape to the professionals.

That said, I have this fine Tom Petty song on my road trip playlist, and I know where to find an equally fine landscape. There’s little traffic between here and there, leaving room to do a little flying of my own.

There’s still a world to be enjoyed and explored ~  find a way to do some flying yourself!


Comments always are welcome.

52 thoughts on “Time to Fly!

  1. Not a coincidence that many Human cultures have myths about “bird people” Who wouldn’t like to be able to take flight under one’s own power and fly away? Wouldn’t take too much imagination to make this a “bird’s eye view” from a flight of fancy — with a nice sound track into the bargain.

    1. I thought of dragonflies when I first watched it. There are segments where the shadow of the chase plane shows up, too, and the multiple shadows suggest a collection of flyers.

    1. It’s a beautifully edited piece, and it was one of those serendipitous finds. I heard an instrumental portion of the song used as a bump on a radio program, and wondered if there was a decent video. When this turned up, it was pretty far down the list of offerings that the Tube suggested, but we’ve all learned by this time to go beyond the first two or three pages of suggestions from any search engine.

      1. I especially like this live video performance. There was a full video by the same name of the history of the band but that doesn’t seem to be available on YT any longer. There is a trailer. I watched it in stages over time and it was interesting. Don’t know if it’s anywhere on the net now. I am glad you shared the video because I didn’t see it when scrolling.

        1. The documentary can be rented from Amazon. It’s available on other channels, but I’ve never heard of any of them. I suspect the documentary’s pretty good, since it was directed by Peter Bogdanovich. I’d watch it for footage of Mike Campbell as much as for Petty. I didn’t realize Campbell co-wrote “Runnin’ Down a Dream.” His solo in that video you linked is great.

          1. It is worth watching. I got to see it for free but might be willing to pay Amazon for a second run through. Mike is my favorite of the band although Benmont is quite talented too. As much as I like Tom I wish he would just stand still during Mike’s solos instead of wandering around distracting the crowd…and the camera person. Guess it’s too late for him to change.

            1. I didn’t find any of that movement distracting, but I enjoy seeing the interaction among musicians during a performance; if the camera man can catch it, all the better. My favorite examples are Leonard Bernstein during the studio sessions for West Side Story, and Clapton and Cale at one of the Chicago Guitar Fests. It’s the interaction that helps to create the electricity.

            2. I also like interaction, a back and forth or support, between musicians. I just don’t see that here. More like attention grabbing. Different strokes. Here’s a fine example. Another artist I’ve been listening to lately is Billy Strings (not his real name). Here’s an example. He tours with his band which also does a lot of solos with support and interplay.

  2. Wonderful! That’s the type of flying I’d love to do, adore small planes but give the big jets a miss. Great song also, which I’ll add to my road song list.

    1. It’s a fabulous song. I especially like the mention of Del Shannon’s “Runaway” in the beginning. It adds another layer of memory.

      I don’t know aircraft, but this one looks as though it might be an STOL (short take off and landing) like the one we used for fly-in clinics in Liberia. Skimming over the top of the bush was such a fine experience, although landing could be a bit of a challenge. Not every pilot has to make a first pass over the runway to scatter the soccer players.

    1. It’s wonderfully done. I suspect there were at least three people involved in the flight itself: the pilot of the first plane, the pilot of the chase plane, and the videographer. A cousin who’s flown for years is being nagged by a photographer friend to go up to document prairie burns in Kansas. I hope he does it.

    1. Me, too. I’ve always preferred small planes and sailboats to passenger jets and cruise ships. To be fair, there are times when only a big plane will do, but when I see one of the cruise ships in port in Galveston, I imagine it as belonging to one of Dante’s circles of hell. It would fit right in with the rest of the crew described in The Onion‘s piece on a newly added tenth circle!

  3. Yesterday we watched part of a not-very-good movie with Merle Oberon playing a rich woman and Gary Cooper playing a cowboy. At one point she asked him where he was from. Before he could say anything, the word “Montana” popped into my head, and that turned out to be his answer. Three things that fly are birds, airplanes, and imaginations.

    1. Merle Oberon: there’s a name I’ve not thought of in some time. Although the film won Academy Awards for best song and best original score, I smiled at this affirmation of your opinion:

      “In his 1938 review in The New York Times, Frank Nugent concluded that the film “just isn’t funny enough to justify the very queer picture of American politics and society it presents.” According to Nugent, even Gary Cooper, “the picture’s greatest asset, has his moments of diminishing returns when he seems to be quoting himself, or when, utterly forsaken by the authors and the director, he looks about helplessly, like a ghost who wonders if he isn’t haunting the wrong house.”

      Apparently the creators of The Cowboy and the Lady didn’t allow their imaginations to fly freely enough.

      1. It’s common for the Turner Classic Movies cable channel to run a bunch of movies in a row that all feature the same performer. Yesterday it was Merle Oberon. The review you quoted is appropriate. I guess the two stars “haunted” that movie for money alone.

  4. A fun flight with perfect accompaniment from Tom Petty. I’m always struck by the high bluffs alongside apparently gently flowing rivers. They remind you of how powerful they can be, despite their appearance.

    1. It’s nice to be reminded that ‘down’ can be as interesting as ‘up.’ Generally speaking, it’s the area’s mountains that claim people’s attention. Still, even though ‘Montana’ is derived from the Spanish montaña, it has an average elevation of only 3,400 feet. That’s the lowest among the Rocky Mountain states, and those broad river valleys are immensely appealing.

  5. Sometimes, in my dreams, I am gliding over a landscape, and I’m always kind of sad when I awake and realize it was a dream only.
    Have great weekend,

    1. I have a friend who loves the watch pelicans soaring in the air currents along the Galveston causeway. She says she sometimes dreams she’s flying with them, and always is disappointed to wake and discover she wasn’t flying. I don’t fly in my dreams, but I take plenty of road trips.

  6. I’m ready for these eVTOLs (Electric vertical takeoff and landing) to start hitting the market, they won’t glide like a fixed-wing plane, but you’ll be able to zoom along a river and drop into a clearing where a plane couldn’t land. I was listening to Tom Petty songs for a couple hours yesterday afternoon, and this weekend maybe I’ll pull out the Traveling Wilburys and their version of Runaway.

    1. There’s an interesting article here about China’s approach to the eVTOL. Never mind certification; just get those babies in the air.

      The Wilburys are among my favorites, and “End of the Line” takes pride of place. Any time someone combines terrifically wise lyrics with a good beat and melody line, I’m there.

    1. I suspect your river days are a bit like my sailing days. I don’t really want to get that deeply involved again, but I miss them. Some of my best memories are those from those days and weeks on the water. Fluid dynamics are fluid dynamics, after all, and whether it’s water flowing under a boat or the wind beneath a sail or airplane wing, that sense of freedom’s wonderful. This video really brought that back for me; it sounds like it might have for you, too.

    1. It’s a toe-tapper, for sure. Cows are said to give more milk when they have just the right music; I wonder if Petty could get your bees buzzing more enthusiastically? Are there people who play music for their bees? Or would it just irritate them? So many questions!

    1. We’re far enough away from this one that the effects here will be minimal. There will be high tides and rip currents, but wind and rain won’t be an issue. Not so for poor Louisiana; they need a break. I hope everyone who wanted to get out moved quickly enough. No free flying for them; the traffic heading this way is bumper-to-bumper.

  7. Running Down a Dream is such a great title and phrase. Good road trip song for sure.

    1. I have a friend who always looks at the pelicans soaring across Galveston and gets dreamy, saying, “I wish I could do that.” I suppose for us swimming comes closest. There aren’t any devices needed to glide through the water. That may be part of the reason so many people love it.

    1. What fun! Were you going somewhere particular, or just flying? I wonder if dreams of flying influenced that whole witches-on-broomsticks business in the middle ages? Whether with or without a broomstick, flying without a plane at least has the advantage of eliminating the TSA and flight delays!

      1. I was flying with arms outstretched soaring like an eagle over forests, banking left and right. It was so real! Never had another like it. One does wonder about such dreams!

  8. Flying about has always been on my wish list, sadly this has only happened in monstrously big planes so far. I admire these people dropping out of small planes and sailing their huge parachutes/ kites hoping to get an upward draught extending their time being airborne.

    1. We often see people cruising about with those huge sails attached to little motorized chairs. I’m not inclined to try that, but it is better than being towed about by a boat. There’s too much noise and too little control with that — a nice, silent glide through the air would be best, although this airplane seems to be nicely suited to its environment.

  9. From my first flight, I’ve enjoyed the experience of flying (I expect things are different now, with COVID and possible terrorists though). And even as a child, I’d race down the slide in our back yard, flapping my arms and fully expecting to fly on my own! Silly girl, but I had more fun — thanks for tickling those memories, Linda.

    1. When I began flying, people dressed up for the occasion, and meals were served with linen napkins and real silverware. Occasionally, you even got a hot towel for your hands. Now? It’s worse than a cattle call. Between the TSA shenanigans, too few employees, and having to keep a mask on? I’d rather walk. Like you, I remember the joys of those free runs with flapping arms!

    1. There’s nothing like a little change of scenery to reinvigorate a person. For that matter, maybe our animals like it, too. Roy’s visits may be his way of ‘taking a flyer’ from his daily routine!

  10. Looks like fun. I can almost feel the controls and the G’s, banking around those bends. (I do have a pilots license, but haven’t used it for about 15 years…)

    1. There are a few roads around the state that are just as much fun to drive: curvy and perfectly banked. What kind of planes did you prefer? I like small planes, but I like the feel of flying — like preferring a sailboat to an ocean liner.

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