Aviation News

On Space and Time, by Rob Bach

by on Nov.26, 2009, under Articles, Aviation

Rob Bach – Self Portrait

Though our friend Rob Bach needs no introduction really, my wife Dharma and I felt compelled to write a few words; he is one of those larger than life characters, one of those people you consider yourself lucky to count as a friend. And why wouldn’t he be? if you consider his lineage, he is the son of acclaimed writer Richard Bach and his mother is the amazing editor and author Bette Fineman Bach.  So as you might imagine, the material coming from such a luminous constellation is nothing short of rivetting. We enjoy Rob’s work in so many levels. One of the most profound ways in which his words inspire us is the level of humanity with which he writes. Though they capture the adventure in a rich way, they are real, they transcend the mere adventure and reach into the core of the human soul. They really touch the heart and leave you not just entertained, but a changed person. He is a permanent member of our Board of Advisors and it is an honor to have him be our first contributing writer. I hope you all enjoy his work as much as we do. Without further ado, here is Rob Bach:

ON SPACE & TIME, by Rob Bach

So, a moment ago, there was a happily empty space here. It was perfect in its nothingness, calm, cold, content. This absence of things was absolute and expected nothing other than to go merrily along devoid of chaos.

Introduce TIME and entropy started immediately. The Big Bang was like that: once TIME BECAME it screwed up all that perfect peace with STUFF BECOMING at a remarkable (and suddenly measurable) rate.

There, then, was the first trade-off of Perfection for Possibility…and so it is here with the seed of an idea Nik (our kind host) had to make a ripple in your experience.


Just you and nobody else.

I’ve never thought that a story I’d care to write would be read by anyone except Mom (who delights in anything I create today as she did when I was in the first grade). Faced with this new opportunity to write once in a while I’ve decided I’ll write just for You. One person (and Mom).

What You get to read from me will be thoughts on flying airplanes, old and new, working as a pilot for a living, building planes for the heck of it, and capturing it all in words and pictures as artfully as I’m able.

Creation is a wonderful thing even though it destroys what came before. Witnessing that life cycle of ideas made manifest is just as amazing as the creation itself. Even though you may not fly or write or craft imagery you can still be a Watcher.

I’ll never pole vault over a bar set six meters over a giant sponge, but I love to watch dedicated people try to do it. Being the audience for excellence is as important as the achievement itself…and so here You are.

Besides flying, I try to photograph airplanes as art. They are a subject worthy of a lifetime effort…my six meter bar. Capturing the essence of a machine that was built by the hands of a hundred people isn’t easy. Most photographers approach the subject like any other machine and take some very pretty pictures in the process. I’d rather make an image that peels away that first impression of the thing and lets You get a sense of the airplane as something other than You thought it was.

Once in a great while, I’ll get pretty close. And now that I know You are here, I’ll try a little harder to understand what I’m doing.

My next entry might be something about the life of the airline pilot or working with dope and fabric or trying to shoot air-to-air in crummy weather. I have no idea. What do You want?

For now then there is just This and so, as in the Beginning when Something came from Nothing, let there be Light:

Copyright 2009 Rob Bach

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17 Comments for this entry

  • Jonathan Bach

    Wow, Rob! Great first entry. Poetic, profound, and pitch perfect. I confess, I am jealous.

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    • cptbach

      Keep up the flattery and you’ll get a guest assignment here! You are a far more thoughtful writer than I, your craft is stronger where I just wing it.

      Perhaps you could write about your life in flight and how you still strive to incorporate it into your life?

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  • David Engelhart

    I went on from here to read Silver Wings, and as I am a plane buff, and that knocked me out. Thanks for the springboard.

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    • cptbach

      Thanks, David!

      I always sense a little personality in an airplane. The older she is, the more experience she has felt and it seeps out into us when we fly.

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  • dhyana ibarra

    Inspiring from the first line. I felt it from the get go. Profound and sigh-filled. Congratulations and thank you.

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    • cptbach

      Terrific comment!

      A writer’s biggest fear is that the words won’t be heard the way they were written.

      Happy you caught the pitch 🙂

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  • Monika Petrillo

    Thanks for that very thought provoking first entry. For me both, flying and writing, have always been soul-searching tools. Reading somebody else’s inspiring words about flying is a little bit like gazing at somebody else’s picture and feeling like you’re looking into the mirror…

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    • cptbach

      So true.

      As I said here, there are so many terrific aviation writers who’ve described flight better than I that I hesitated taking on the thought.

      Each of us is a little facet of the infinite diamond that if Flight and so reflects the vision from it uniquely.

      Your turn 🙂

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  • Sarah Sofia Granborg

    Really nice to see that you guys have gotten this blog started! Love your initiative, Nick and Dharma!!!

    Interesting post, Rob – very interesting indeed!
    I didn’t only appreciate the philosophical touch but also getting to know you a tiny bit and hearing about the things you do.

    Since you’re asking what the reader wants to find in future posts, well, I must say I absolutely loved that picture of the sun above the clouds.
    Also “photographing airplanes as art” sounds really interesting to me!

    A friend told me the other day that his son thinks the C17 is the best thing since “sliced toast”. My first response to that was: “Good. That should keep him alive!”, because I know he is concerned about his sons’ deployment to the middle east…

    Anyway, this came to mind when I read about your philosophical and artistic approaches. Not everybody can understand the affinity some people have for some machines, can’t see the obvious beauty… but without that a person’s understanding of it will suffer and most of all: he won’t be able to control it as well!

    So I wish you luck with your mission of getting people to see the beauty in airplanes, in the sky, in aviation. There’s a lot to bring across, I hope you will be able to build that bridge!

    I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts!

    Greetings from Scandinavia,
    Sarah Sofia

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    • Friends of Aviation

      Thanks for your response and your encouragement. You will see some very interesting postings on this blog and a lot of both fun, entertainment and motivating communication related to the wide world of Aviation. God Jul to all of you in Denmark!

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    • cptbach


      We’ll get a gallery going here from artists of all genre with this theme in mind. It might take us a bit to do it, but I’m ready with 100 or so photos that might just hint at what you write about.

      In the meantime :


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  • Mo


    I loved your blog, very entertaining and captivating. Fun. Thanks for sharing!! That self-portait of you in the plane, is one of the most amazing photographs to me! I Looove the color, texture, motion, and the emotion it gives you, together it really communicates! Boy, it makes me wannna fly!

    I would love to hear about your adventures of flying, or getting the image you want with your camera. I love both.

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    • cptbach

      Adventures you will get! I hope you go fly and have a thousand of your own.

      I’ll write about a few here and there, both beautiful and challenging.

      The picture was a remote shot over the hay fields of Iowa during a barnstorming summer. I had no idea it would capture that moment so well.

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  • taina joseph

    I would like to hear about what you thought it was like to be around your father. Was he an inspiration to you in any way.
    For what its worth, I am a training aerobatics pilot and would love any tips.

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  • cptbach

    Thanks for the thoughts!

    I’ll be exploring art and aircraft in an entry next week. It’s a very personal relationship between the subject and photographer…much like the relationship one has with a human model except nothing I say to the plane will change the image whatsoever 🙂

    It’s more about timing, place, and the all important LIGHT wrapping around the wings that needs be captured.

    Aerobatics: best tip I ever got was “Tie yourself in to the beast like you were riveted in at the factory!”

    Went up last week in the Yak 55 and had a ball. The airplane becomes an extension of thought and it’s always comforting to know I can’t hurt the plane before I hurt my Self.

    As for Dad and his affect on me, I”ll post an entry devoted entirely to that.

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  • Hentje Pongoh

    Dear Rob,

    Warmest Greetings from Indonesia 🙂

    I really like your great story and nice photo as well.Thanks so much.

    Please keep sharing your flying experiences.

    It’s only about time for you to write and publish your own book 🙂


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  • tayeb


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