If there’s one flight I can point to and say, “That’s when I decided to be an airline pilot,” this is the one. The crackling static of the HF radio as the pilots called Gander, Shanwick and Santa Maria in turn with our position reports fired my imagination. At sunrise, the relief pilot headed to the lav and Charlie invited me to sit in the right seat, and for the first time, the “big iron” seemed within reach. We coasted in over Portugal and Spain, and as I looked down on Mediterranean villages stirring to life far below, “over there” became real to me for the first time. I felt a new and deep compulsion to see those villages, to explore new lands, to experience foreign cultures. On approach into Cairo, the crew asked for and received a long visual approach, and they dipped down low — probably lower than technically legal — over the Great Pyramid of Giza. I felt like I could reach down and pat the Sphinx on the head. Once we landed, a kaleidoscope of sights and sounds greeted me: Strange Russian airplanes were scattered engineless around the airport, brusque customs officials wanted to know my business in the Arab Republic of Egypt, stern-looking guards brandished very serious-looking machine guns, and the great press of humanity shouted varied entreaties in strange tongues outside the arrivals area.