MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. --
While picking up my six-year-old daughter from school one evening, I was surrounded by the general chaos that ensues from the combination of elementary school children and a playground.
Suddenly, a dull roar began to fill the air and all movement ceased, eyes averted skyward, and happy screams bellowed from this group of seemingly untamable kids.
A McConnell Air Force Base KC-135 Stratotanker was coming in for landing and was banking directly above the playground. The children erupted into a chorus of shouts of, "Hi mister pilot! Can you see me?", all while waving frantically at the passing aircraft.
For a moment, all I could do was smile at their youthful amazement at the mystery of aviation, their eagerness to be "seen" by the men and women flying above them, and their complete joy at something as simple as an airplane in flight.
It was a small but powerful reminder to those of us who work around these aircraft or fly them daily and see countless takeoffs and landings that no matter how redundant the job may seem, to many outside the gates of the base each flight is something very special.
So, for those aircrew members out there who may (or may not) see anything spectacular about coming in for an approach, know that on any given weekday afternoon, there is a playground full of kids having their minds' completely blown at the thought of a jet flying above them.
And if the KC-135 had a horn, I'd totally suggest using it.