A photographer from a well-known national magazine was  assigned to cover Southern California's wildfires. The magazine wanted pictures of the heroic work the fire fighters were doing as they battled the blazes.

When the photographer arrived on the scene he realized that the smoke was so thick that it would seriously impede, or even make impossible, his obtaining good photographs from ground-level.

He requested permission from his boss to rent a plane and take photos from the air. His request was approved, and via a cell phone call to the local county airport, necessary arrangements were made. He was told a single-engine plane would be waiting for him at the airport.

He arrived at the airfield and spotted a plane warming up outside a hangar. He jumped in with his bag, slammed the door shut, and shouted, "Let's go!"

The pilot taxied out, swung the plane into the wind, and roared down the runway. Within just a minute or two of his arrival they were in the air.

The photographer requested the pilot to, "Fly over the valley and make two or three low passes so I can take some pictures of the fires on the hillsides."

"Why?" asked the pilot.

"Because I'm a photographer for a national magazine," he responded, "and I need to get some close-up shots."

The pilot was strangely silent for a moment; finally he stammered, "So, you're telling me you're not the flight instructor?"