My dad, the masked avenger

By Kelly

If you asked an investor I’m sure they would think me prudent for thinking about retirement, however I imagine my supervisor would prefer me to think more to the immediate future and finish my PhD…However I’m going to save that for another day as I have only just returned from three weeks leave and I’m working my way back into working, so to speak. Instead I shall pay tribute -as this is the week to pay tributes- to my very favourite geo-engineer, my dad.

I was cc-ed into an email last week, and discovered my dad is presently gliding (think plane with no engine), across the Andes (see pictures below), at a height that requires him to wear an oxygen mask (see the masked avenger above). I didn’t even know he was in Chile. It’s not what you think, I am actually very close to my family. We just tend to forget to tell each other details sometimes, like our location, or altitude.

A view from the armchair

My father started his career in the Airforce and then went on to be a computer engineer, before applying his technical know how to more geological applications i.e the structural integrity of mines and dams. At least I’m pretty sure that is what he did, but then again I’m not even sure which part of the globe he’s in, last I knew he was busy watching David Attenborough from his armchair in the living room. So technically he is a geo-engineer, rather than a geologist in the academic sense (more in a spiritual sense, that’s right, geology is a religion in some homes).

Oh my *&d you are going the wrong way!

While my dad doesn’t have the letters after his name he is a very inspiring researcher; you just figure things out, keep asking questions until you get to the answer (and if you don’t, then make it up and sound as convincing as possible….There are certain things in our house known as dad facts: completely unfounded, non-peer reviewed pieces of information that sound suspiciously like bull&%^t, or they might just be true).

He is also a very inspiring adventurer. I remember as an early teen having so much fun doing aerobatics in the glider that we didn’t have quite enough height to get back to the airbase, so he casually asked me to pick a paddock….in which to crash-land our aircraft. The cows seemed amused, I did not. When being a little more serious he is known to compete cross-country which requires staying in the air for more than 5 hours. Not bad for an aircraft without an engine.

And so when many retirees sit back to enjoy their golden years, others go to Chile to build flight simulators  for the next generation of pilots. Or perhaps more accurately  he is building a very large interactive computer game, and getting to see some pretty spectacular geology in the process. Junket anyone?

When I retire, I want to be just like my dad.