Tuesday, September 11, 2018

From The Sky

“You haven’t seen a tree until you’ve seen its shadow from the sky.”
  -Amelia Earhart


I think of my dad as kind of a vehicle genius. It doesn’t matter what it is—he can drive it, expertly. Cars are the simplest things. How about an 18-wheeler? No problem. A boat? All the time. A motorcycle, a snowmobile, a four-wheeler, a huge tractor…if it’s got a motor, he’s a master.

So there’s one special thing he drives that most people aren’t used to seeing in a "normal" person. Our family isn't rich by any means, but my dad owns his own airplane.

"Who wants to go for an airplane ride?"

It isn’t a huge jet (google pictures of John Travolta’s home if you want a jaw-dropping moment) but a teeny-tiny two-seater built in 1946. Yes, that’s 1946. He bought it used years ago. It’s so thin and lightweight, he pushes it out of the hangar by hand in about two seconds.

Tiny, old plane...tiny, old cockpit


I remember hanging around small airports as a kid, bored while while he talked to the airport geezers in their loose, greasy overalls or while he tinkered around on the plane. It felt like ages but was probably only 20 or 30 minutes of going through a checklist.

Waiting was boring but we grew up soaring through the air like it was a normal, everyday thing. Flying in a small plane feels nothing like traveling in a jet. It wasn’t until I was twenty that I flew with a commercial airline for the first time. I was so excited…and then so disappointed. I didn’t feel hardly anything. Turning and banking. Dips. Meh.

One advantage of a small plane is that you aren’t necessarily way above the clouds. You’re up high and can see everything, but you’re low enough that you can still see everything. The murky cloud a boat trails behind it on a still lake, the Christmas tree farm built in a circle with an irrigation system running around it like the hand on a clock, your family waving as you do a fly-by.


Lake Missaukee, Michigan

I was on vacation last week, so I got to ride with my dad in his plane again. And I have to admit it—I’ve gone really soft. We had some bad luck with the weather and it was a kind of windy day, so I FELT EVERY BUMP. In a plane that small, there’s nothing to hold on to but your own pantlegs.

Dad Humor - when your dad is a pilot
 
As a kid, I took it all for granted. It was a while before I realized what an unbelievably special thing my dad shared by flying with me.


 



All pictures by me or my family.

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