Sharing the Skies and the Road on the Internet
by Walt Stickel
     Sharing my flying experiences.  Took my flight instruction at Boeing field in 1976.   Started my Lessons on June 1, 1976 and got my Private license on July 10, 1976.  After moving to the San Juan Islands in 1984 acquired a commercial and Instrument rating.  In 1986 flew for Island Airlines for three months and then flew for West Isle Air in Anacortes eight months. Then flew for San Juan Airlines flying the mail into the Islands for four months.
    Drove truck  the 48 states and logged a million miles criss crossing the good ole USA.

Driving Years   Click here

  
     A friend and ISP customer gave me a little Book on Bill Woods entitled " If I Could Write"
The Introduction is written below and I myself  the same thoughts that Bill express in one page.   Though I never met him I feel we have met in the sky in thoughts.
   
When Bill passed on there were no home computers and the Internet was yet to come.  It is a honor to put Bill's thoughts through his poems on the Internet.  The Below are two links to Bill's poems.
Mountain Pilot   Click here
Happiness of Flight   Click here
Just You   Click here


Photos taken on July 22, 1980 in a Cessna 150.
     Flying between 5000 to6000 thousand feet west of Mt. Saint Helens.  A friend called me about 5:00PM and said the Mt. had erupted. This was the second major eruption since May 18, 1980.  We lived in Renton, WA and  our Plane a 150 Cessna was at the Renton, Airport.   We took off about 5:30PM and arrived about 6:30PM at the Mt.  Being on the West side looking East made for perfect picture taking conditions.  The view was spectacular and I realized that we were witnessing a event from avantage point that most would never see except with pictures.   I did the flying and my wife took the pictures using a 35mm Minolta camera.  Remember using two rolls of film.  The mountain on top left in the background is Mt. Adams in Washington state.  The photos used are scanned, because the Home Computer was still to come.
     In 1977 my wife. daughter and myself flew across the USA from Renton, WA to Washington DC .  We landed a total of 53 times.  In 1991 to 2001 I drove the 48 states and in ten years drove a million mile.  The USA become a state to me.  Many times in driving across the USA I remember flying over the area.  You might say I have a birdeyes view of  the good Old USA.  
     To see a live picture of Mt. Saint Helens and more information Chick here

Mt Saint Helens July 22, 1980



Live cam of Mt.   Click here



In Memory of
WILLIS M. (BILL) WOODS

Born

DECEMBER 12, 1901    PAWNNEE CITY, NEBRASKA

ENTERED TO REST

MARCH 23, 1974                    BOISE, IDAHO

 " IF I COULD WRITE"
By Bill Woods
    If I could write I'd write of summertime and early morning flight, of pink-tinged mountain peaks with their green fir robes topped with caps of ermine white, of silver rivers far below winding thu multi-colored canyons, of the soft gray stratus clouds dissolving before the sun's first bright rays  I would try to tell of the pilot's highway, wide as the world itself, of the peace and eternal solitude and the deep sense of adventure while gliding thru shadowy corridors among the ever changing Cumulus clouds, and of the sweet, sweet song of a motor's roar, breathing the cold clean air high above the earthbound dust and smoke as the remote earth, so very far below, slowly breaks into a million sun lite and shadowy patterns.

    If I could write I'd try to tell you of midday flight when the sun's hot breath has awakened every devilish air current, of a plane being tossed around like a loose leaf before winter's early winds.  I would describe that awful feeling of aloneness - the chill terror - and how mere seconds creep by like old and worn out years, as those wind devils slam your plane toward bleak canyon walls, your controls as dead as yesterday's dreams. I'd write of the quick panic you try to hold away as you wait for that life saving cushion of air that you can only hope is trapped beside the canyon wall.  I guess I'd even try to make you feel the deep inside hurting of the clatter of an overworked, overheated motor fighting for precious altitude while those demanding down'drafs are pulling you don, down, down.  I might eve tell you how little and insignificant you feel when a thousand crazy air currents have grabbed your plane and are shaking it much like a hungry cur shakes a meatless bone, of broken tie down ropes and a heave load of loose freight floating up tight against the ceiling as the plane itself falls faster than the pull of gravity, and of the chaotic thoughts within your mind while you wait for the solid air and wonder if man'made wings of wood and fabric can take the shock.

    If I could write I'd write of winter flights when the deep white snows have hidden and locked away every meadow and glade where'in a plane could find a haven, of black storms chasing one another at mile a minute speeds, of sullen clouds pregnant with snow , dragging their bloated bellies along the ground, hiding every familiar landmark, and of flying in blizzards when the visibility is less than a hundred feet and a hundred miles an hour seems like a million.  I'd write of the dull, clumsy, dead weight of a plane loading  up with ice and of the anguished gasp of a radial motor breathing only wet and freezing air.  I might even try to tell you of how it feels to be boxed in by the storms, of th helplessness that permeates your whole being while you are using all of the skill, cunning and knowledge that you have accumulated in a lifetime of flying just to hold death away a little longer.  I'd write of how you will look at your hands on the controls and marvel at the wonderful pieces of flesh and blood mechananism that the y are and wowornder just ho much  longer they will have the life and power to obey the commands of your brain.

    I would also tell of how your heart swells to almost a breaking point when you finally get thru and of how good the cold clean ground feels beneath your feet, ground that only moments before you had thought that you would never again feel and to walk on.

    If I could write, why most of all I would write of how good human companionship is after one of these flights, of how a baby's cry, a child's laughter, a woman's smile or friendly touch is worth more than the tinkle of golden coins in a blind beggar's cup.  But what I would never hope to write about  is  that inconceivable pull, that ever constant compulsion, stronger and more demanding than steel cables that persists in taking you back and back, as though your soul were a veritable fragment of the air you breathe and fly in.  Of that I could never write for I do not have the humble understanding, that belongs to God alone.

Note: The foregoing was written by Bill Woods, the  "Old Man of the Mountains", who has flown over twenty nine-thousand hours among the Sawtooth Mountains in Idaho's Primative Area.  He has flow horses, cows, hogs, mules, tractors, eve complete lodges together with all their equipment, power plants and thousands of hunters and fishermen into these mountains, in winter and summer of about thirty years of constant flying.

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