Pilot Reincarnation: What Bird Would You Be?

By Scott Spangler on March 23rd, 2015

From time unrecorded, humans have looked up and envied the birds above them. In time we created machines to emulate their various forms of flight. But have you ever given a moments thought to pilot reincarnation and what kind of bird you would be?

I’m not sure why I awoke with this question in mind last Sunday morning, but it was good reason for not getting out of bed until I’d pondered it. Given the omphaloskepsistic (that’s Greek for contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation) nature of my question, the philosophic seagull lifted off first. Following it was the peregrine falcon, the fast and agile fighter pilot of birds; the albatross, ungainly on the ground, but king of long distance soaring; and the owl, a stealthy predator known for silent flight.

Ultimately, I decided on the hummingbird. Unlike machines, it doesn’t seem to suffer the trade-off consequences necessary for flight fast and stationary. With only a muted hum of wings beating at 40 flaps a second, give or take, they magically appear at my backyard feeder. Better than any helicopter ever could, they dart left, right, forwards, backwards, up, and down with precision that any Blue Angel would die for.

And, as I’ve just learned, their precise flight is unaffected by turbulence measured with up to a 15-percent variation in wind speed. Imagine being able to adjust the angle of incidence of your wings independently with every flap, and it it at 40 flaps a second. It would be worth growing the tail that completes the physical structure that would reincarnate me as the ultimate flying creature.

So, pilots reincarnated, what bird would you be? – Scott Spangler, Editor

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8 Responses to “Pilot Reincarnation: What Bird Would You Be?”

  1. Frank Says:

    Have you ever seen a flycatcher? They hover, back up dive and do aerobatics that just blow me away. I would choose to be one of them, I guess mainly because they are 10 times the size of a hummingbird but can do almost the same maneuvers. Hummingbirds are pretty cool too, though.

  2. Larry Says:

    I would choose raptor, eagle,hawk,falcon. I Love to soar like they do, and can still hoover if needed.

  3. Kem Hayes Says:

    A Seagull, ever watch them glide? Plus their effortless slow climb takeoffs. Smooth flyers.

  4. Smith Says:

    A duck, it can fly, swim ,walk and talk.

  5. Gary Schaffer Says:

    I would be a Pelican!… Flying low-level formation with my friends and fishing all day is my idea of heaven.

  6. Joby Wieser Says:

    A Buzzard! My CFI says all Glider pilots come back as buzzards. They have saved me several times when lift was scarce. There are the Dolphins of the sky!

  7. William Dubois Says:

    A Raven, because the seem to love to fly … just like me (plus they can fly in crazy-high winds).

  8. Ruben Says:

    Most certainly an eagle! :)

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