Monday, October 6, 2008

Proud Papa

For nearly ten months my parents, like most of my friends, have listened patiently as I recounted a seemingly endless number of flying tales. This past weekend, the stars finally aligned - or, I should say, the clouds finally lifted - and I was able to take my Dad and my friend Laura up for a ride. (Mum was eager to join us, but had hurt her back a few days before and could not negotiate the climb into the Tiger.) I had coordinated with both of them before leaving Garrett County, so my folks were waiting at the airport as I pulled up in the Tiger. As I preflighted and re-filed an ADIZ flight plan, Laura arrived, and the three of us set off on in search of Harper's Ferry shortly thereafter.

And no, my Dad and I did not color coordinate our shirts on purpose. We did, however, coordinate our "V for Victory" signs. Although I claim it as my flying call-sign, I actually learned it from my Dad, who used to flash it at cop cars for good luck as we sped along on any number of family cross country road trips.

I had flown the route only a half hour before on my return trip from 2G4, so warned my Dad and Laura that we might hit a little turbulence as we approached the mountains.

As it turned out, the winds had died in the late afternoon air and the flight was silky smooth. It was a bit of a strange sensation for me to be flying passengers over Harper's Ferry. Only ten months earlier, Greg had flown me on the exact same route and I had marvelled at the wonders of seeing the river and the fall foliage from only 2400 feet. While I don't think I'll ever take flying for granted, it is a great feeling to get to witness the wonder and excitement of first time passengers and know that you are the source of that excitement.

As we flew along, I did my best to recount the historic battle tale of Harper's Ferry (Greg has only explained its significance to me a half a dozen times), and Laura did her best to humor me. [Sigh]. Canadians!

When the plane was more or less trimmed, I let my Dad try his hand on the yoke. He did a good job of holding her level and even experimented with a few gentle turns. When Laura started to cry, I took the controls back.

After we had all had our fill of Harper's Ferry, we headed for home. I had a bit of troubling getting Potomac Approach to respond to my ADIZ entry request, but the Garmin 496's pink and blue lines assured me that I was circling in government-free airspace. I know, I know, real pilots don't need GPS. But there is a big difference between LIKE and NEED, eh?

My Dad took photos throughout the flight, and caught an especially cool one of me turning base to final. Although Dad and Laura did not have a source of comparison, I still marvel at the amazingly unobstructed view from the cockpit of the Tiger.

With the winds straight down the runway, I was able to demonstrate what a soft touch the Tiger can be on landing. Back on the ground, the quietness of the flight was quickly replaced by youthful exuberance as my Dad recounted the details of our flight to my Mum.

I couldn't help but smile. Children may grow up, but it always feels good to make our parents proud.


At October 8, 2008 at 9:35 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

What a perfect day! So that's what HF looks like from the air :)

At October 8, 2008 at 11:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you Amy :) and look forward to a ride/flight with you in the Tiger one day soon :)

At October 9, 2008 at 4:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow, in spite of wanting so much to fly with you on Sunday, it did seem absolutely right that the "scuba diving duo" got to do the first sky show together too!
The grins on your faces when you taxied into Tiger's spot on the tarmac said it all:)


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