I know people who have dreamed of flying since they were little children. They would jump off the furniture in their homes using blankets for "wings". I witnessed quite a few air shows growing up and enjoyed watching the Blue Angels and Thunderbird stunt teams,I was subjected to hours of John Wayne war movies including the "Fighting Tigers", and who didn't get a thrill from "Top Gun"? I became earnestly interested in flight in college. Okay, it wasn't even so much flight that interested me during college, but you guessed it-- the feminine power mystique. I wrote a paper about the W.A.S.Ps (Women Air Force Service Pilots) of WWII and became intrigued by the pioneering spirit of female pilots (you wanna know more?-http://www.womenofcourage.com/).
Recently, I have been glued to the History Channel's dissection of famous dogfights and aces. I was amazed to learn that the Japanese built fragile, yet very maneuverable flying machines called the zero in WWII. Americans had emphasized substance,practicality, and speed in their engineering with the Warhawk. In the Vietnam dogfight series,I also learned the definitions of S.A.M. (surface to air missile) and A.A.A (anti-aircraft artillery--not alcoholic AAA). You see, I wasn't handed a glossary of aircraft and weapon definitions when the Dr. slapped me on the ass after birth. Girls miss out on "The Dangerous Book for Boys" that is handed out with blue cigars in the baby boys' rooms!
Why dogfights? There is something extremely primitive and guttural about one-on-one combat and being able to see your enemy at close range. It personalizes battle and makes you think twice before inflicting mortal wounds. Many pilots (not necessarily the Japanese) would try to just shoot the plane down instead of killing the enemy directly in most instances. It begs the question---Does advanced technology really make for a superior method of warfare? It impersonalizes the situation with distance, so the chance of mass,unfeeling carnage is much more accessible. I guess I am an idealist as far as warfare and weaponry are concerned--the more primitive the implements and the more direct the contact--the more thought and empathy are involved and the less cold/mechanized battle becomes! Both sides usually want truce much faster when you have to actually see the fear, pleading, and cold chill of death in your opponents eyes!
Some other people that embody flying and ingenuity:
Richard Branson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Branson
Svetlana Kapanina: http://www.patricksaviation.com/videos/Ryzg/418/
Amy Johnson: http://movies.msn.com/movies/movie.aspx?m=57836
“...now and then women should do for them-
selves what men have already done... and occasionally
what men have not done...thereby establishing them-
selves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women
toward greater independence of thought and action.”--Amelia Earhart http://www.ameliaearhart.com/about/quotes.html