“I have to fly…because I can’t walk.” Dan Buchanon

Let’s face it – we all love a great show, right?  It’s even better when coming from our brave soldiers – our amazing men and women in uniform…

IMG_4311While watching the US Navy’s Blue Angels perform their amazingly precise aerial acrobatics at the Hillsboro Air Show yesterday, I was suddenly struck by three unexpected lessons – that had more to do with truly living life as they did with flying some blazingly fast and very expensive airplanes.

So What can the Blue Angels teach us about life?  A lot…

Over the course of five hours, we watched “vintage, but still ready-to-take it on” rotary engine planes from the World Wars, to smoke-billowing hang gliders and parachutists who brought “way more than smoke and attitude” to the party and ending with the awe-inspiring, “time-after-time, coming at you from all directions” precision of the Blue Angels.

So, here are three unexpected and valuable life lessons.


First, PASSION OVER TIMEit’s the heart that matters. When watching the Heritage Flight, look at the span of history and durability in these planes.  All crucial to the success in aviation history, America would not be where it is today without that passion and continued vitality.

It is the same with you and me.  What are YOU passionate about?  What fires your engines and makes you want to “just get out there and do it?”  Whether you are a P-51 Mustang, an F-86 Sabre Jet or the F-16 Falcon – what lights you up and fuels your rockets matters…to you…and to the world.


IMG_4394Second, Practice + Patience = PRECISIONDon’t Give Up.  Precision was a word that boomed over the loudspeakers all day long…and rightfully so.  Every one of the pilots flying before us did not get to be “the best” without lots of practice, even more patience and a rock-solid “I am not a quitter” attitude.

Imagine successfully flying a billion dollar jet next to several others just like you in perfect formation, mere inches apart at normal speeds well over 200 miles per hour.  That did not happen overnight…or in a week…or likely even a year.

And not one of those Angels started out a prothey all had their first day in the cockpit too.
So…what do you need to practice more or be more patient about while you gain precision?  Just like the Angels, frustration during development is normal…

…however, giving up is entirely optional.   Don’t be a quitter!

Third, and possibly the most profoundly touching lesson, came from Dan Buchanon himself. That is the lesson of PERSISTENCE – despite current or past circumstancesWhile watching Dan’s graceful, artistic fluidity in his smoke-drizzling sail plane, I was awestruck by his ability to effortlessly maneuver a machine like that, hundreds of feet in the air.

Then came the kicker…IMG_4232

After watching Dan make intricate smoke art in the sky, he landed his plane as smooth as silk…then was lovingly helped into his waiting wheelchair.

That’s right, Dan Buchanon is paralyzed and cannot walk.  He hasn’t been able to walk for over 30 years.

Dan lost the use of his legs during a hang glide landing that injured his spine – that was in 1985.  Six months later, he was back flying and can fly motorless for six hours or more. Besides being a mechanical engineer, he also is a licensed pyrotechnician – wiring all of his own special effects.

Flying above our heads, hundreds of feet in the air with his own designed-and-built smoke art special effects and landing as smooth as melted butter…

As Dan said, “I have to fly…because I can’t walk.”

Dan could so easily have quit.  Instead, he overcame a huge obstacle – demonstrating that stumbling blocks can be stepping stones, depending on how we view them.

So, what makes your heart and head fly? 

What do you need to do in order to make that dream a reality…to, pardon the pun Dan – put feet to your dreams and make them a reality?

Whether it’s transforming our finances, health or happiness – it lies within us to make it happen. With practice, patience and persistence, we will achieve PRECISION…allowing us to live the lives of fulfillment we so deeply desire.

Here’s one BONUS tip from the heart of the Blue Angels….the sky is the limit.  The world is yours – go out and claim it!


To your financial and life success,

P.S.  Please share this article with your friends and let us know your thoughts below!  Also, remember to honor and thank the proud, noble veterans in your life!

All pictures used in this article were taken by Debbie Todd at the airshow.

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