Full circle

Photo by Keith McFarland

In a couple of weeks, the Old Man and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. I can’t say that it seems just like yesterday that we were young newlyweds. We’ve enjoyed a full and satisfying 30 years, and we have tried to take advantage of each and every precious day.

We’ve been blessed to experience many special things in those years. We’ve grown a wonderful family. We’ve had some grand adventures, and we’ve done a little flying here and there, lately a little more here than there. When we first started our lives together, times were tough. Gas was expensive. Jobs were scarce. The economic outlook was dim. Seems like we’ve come full circle.

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Lightning Man

johnnysmith 004 copy

My Old Man met Johnny Smith during an act of of immeasurable kindness. We were finally able to relocate back to Henry’s hometown of Canton, Georgia, in the early 1980s. With our few worldly possessions moved, it was time to fly the Luscombe 8A to her new home.

I drove Henry to the grass field a couple of hours west of our new home where she was based, saw him off and started the drive back to 47A, Cherokee County Airport, now CNI. About an hour into the drive, I was hoping he and Lucy were safely on the ground. Rain was pouring, lightning was cracking and thunder was booming. It was so bad I finally pulled off the road to wait for the storm to pass.

At Cherokee, Johnny had come by to make sure his Champ was properly secured against the impending storm when he saw the little Luscombe land just ahead of the deluge. He rushed to help the pilot tie her down, and when he grabbed the wing strut, lightning popped and he was knocked to the ground. The Old Man was jolted as well.

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For the love of pilots

Marilyn Theetge

In my experience, airports fall into two categories. There are those that are all business, a sterile environment where pilots and passengers pass through for a time, leaving none of themselves or their experiences behind. These are efficient patches of asphalt that are necessary in modern times, and it is not the function or responsibility of these facilities to inspire.

Then there are the other places, those half-forgotten patches of grass or concrete where a middle-aged housewife with gray hair or a gangly teenaged boy whose arms have not quite come to terms with his legs are encouraged to follow a desire to become one with the sky.

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Visiting family

It’s no exaggeration — Atlanta traffic is bad. Even though we live 60 miles north of the city, my family lives three hours south. There’s no way around it. If I want to visit them, I must travel through a sprawling congested mess. The interstate straight through the city is often snarled and the loop around it is just as bad.

So when I learned to fly years ago, it was a relief to my Old Man that I finally had a safer mode of transportation to use when I wanted to see my family. He didn’t worry as much when I flew down in my C-172C than when I traveled by car. [Read more…]

These are the days

It’s that time of year when I get to whine. Weather wise, December through March is typically dreary, often with gray skies and cold temperatures. We even have a snow shower or two here in north Georgia that gets the news media all in a tizzy. However, this year has been exceptionally warm, although we’ve had our share of dreary wet days.

I can get through the winter just fine if I get a day now and then for a smooth flight in Lester. It’s just as well that winter often limits my good VFR flying days, because this is also the time of year when our bank account is stretched to the limit.

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Lesson learned

"Albert" today with his airplane. Deb explains the name has been changed and face covered to protect the guilty.

“Albert” was 25 and cocky back in 1975 when he got his license. Well, perhaps he was a tad nervous on his check ride, but thankfully he did well and would never have to do that again.

Albert thought life was good. He and his Cessna 140 were temporary based at a sleepy, little airport in the hills of northern Georgia while he oversaw the completion of a project for his employer. The pay was good. The cabin he rented fulfilled his needs and the scenery was downright pretty.

Albert loved to fly. He particularly liked to fly in the mountains. [Read more…]