Around the Airport

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Aviators Need Trim Tabs

Want some quality artwork on your bomber jacket?
Aviation attracts creatives. An event horizon of sorts, the pull of airplane ecstasy blinds them. Beyond the light is the hole they cannot escape. Fun in three dimensions that feel like five is remarkable enough to warp time.
A guy dreams of flying in his time off and six months later, actually fifteen years, his world is nothing but airplanes. Swirling rapidly toward the singularity, it is only then he accepts this could end badly. If only he’d kept some balance; an orbit just outside to allow escape. Perhaps that would have been better.
I met Jim Harley when I volunteered to fly with The Collings Foundation. Easy to get along with, it was obvious there was more to him than flying planes. People are like dogs; you can see it in their eyes. What was it? A friend answered that question.
Jim had been a graphic artist when he started with Collings. Now he was Chief Pilot of the group, and the art was a distant memory. Or was it?
It doesn’t matter how much you love aviation. If you gobble it unrestrained for extended periods, you will become a charred cinder of your previous self. Someone could offer you a Mustang to fly and you would do whatever it takes to find someone else to take it.
Channeling my inner hippie (snicker), all I can say is “aviation is heavy, maaann.” Because of that, it has run more people out of CG, completely out of balance, than anything else I know other than drugs. It’s crazy.
When I met Jim, he was cooked. I’ve seen it enough to know. Therefore, when we went flying, I asked him about the art. His response was that of a pro ball player knocked out of the game in his prime with bad knees. He did smile, though.
Don’t get me wrong. Jim is the consummate aviator. He still loves aviation and has a list of planes he would kill to fly. Without balance, though, it wouldn’t be, and isn’t, as much fun. Knowing that, I was excited to see him recently post photos of his artwork online.
Now, as he tells me, he is back at his art and enjoying it. Not only that, but he’s also selling his work. Check out the photos in this post. He’s generating some great material.
If you see something you like, I hope you’ll support his newfound balance and give him a ring. His prices are well within reason. Plus, I’m hoping a little balance will keep him flying with Collings for the long haul. People I enjoy sharing a plane with are rare, and he’s one of them.
NOTE: If you have any aviation artwork in mind that you don’t see here, Jim will work with you to create what it is you’re after.  Click here to contact him. 

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