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Superb post, Jerry. Thanks. Puts my current potential layoff from work
JERRY ADAIR wrote in message <email@example.com>...
Just wanted to share...I flew a pretty special Angelflight mission
yesterday morning. An older couple needed transportation from Bakersfield
to Santa Monica. The husband has suffered through blood cancer and a bone
marrow transplant. Very, very painful I hear. Anyway, they now have
standing appointments at UCLA to treat him but cant afford the repetitive
travel expenses. I had volunteered for the mission last week, thinking it
would be a nice way to spend part of Valentines Day, especially since I
didnt have anyone to share it with this year! So off I go in the
Seminole; as long as Im flying and paying for it, I might as well build
multi time. I feel quite certain that 2185A appreciates the cross-country
break from training flights all the same. When I arrive at BFL
(Bakersfield Meadows) I meet a somewhat quiet, battle-with-life hardened
couple who seem to have emerged all the better for it. Probably because
they endured it together, but I digress. The husband, and patient, wore
an old farmers hat that covered what I was sure was a bald head (from his
previous treatment) and he simply just SMACKED of a good ol
down-to-earth, country kind of individual. This reminded me *so* much of
home (TEXAS!), family, and how I would like to live life someday.
So I load them into the semi ("sem-eee") and give em the standard
passenger brief. I reassure them that theyre in the capable hands of a
flight instructor, start the engines, get the clearance (IFR) and we leave
the ramp. I taxi us to 30, do the runup and get the takeoff clearance.
As I rotate and we became airborne, I hear a soft "yelp" (for lack of a
better term) from the backseat. I look aft and the wife appears to be
captivated with the view, the speed and the exhilaration of flight in a
small airplane. "Are you two alright?", I ask. "This is the first time
weve been on one of these," she said, "but Im loving it already. "Ah, I
see. Well just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Well be in Santa
Monica before you know it and itll seem as though it was over all too
soon." They smiled. So I turn us South and we head for the Gorman
pass. Due to the recent precipitation here in Southern California, the
mountains in this area are covered with snow and are a beautiful sight to
behold. The sky is clearer and theres a bright sun, so we can see them
in all of their splendor. No, Im not trying to write a mushy novel!
However there is a layer of clouds below us. We kinda skim the tops of
them at our assigned cruising altitude of 9000 feet. So we buzz one, then
theres a hole where we can see the mountains again, then theres another
cloud and we glide right across the top of that one too. This repeats
until we are past the San Bernardino mountains and are in the LA basin.
The atmosphere has kinda stabilized after the bad weather so the ride is
surprisingly smooth, even right atop the clouds! As I periodically glance
aft to check on my passengers I see the two of them absorbing this great
big green golf ball we call Earth from a new perspective and with a
feverous intent shown so vivedly through wide-open eyes and faces that are
practically pressed right up against the windows. I am careful to point
out some landmarks, much as you do during a demo flight with a prospective
student, and I am keeping all maneuvers small, gentle and smooth. I cant
help but feel that they have left "life" behind and are escaping from
their problems, even if only for a short time. So Cal chimes in and
clears us for the VOR approach into Santa Monica, so I get the plane
configured and remind them that we may penetrate some clouds, upon which
the visibility will be reduced to zero, but that its alright cause "...I
just do what these little gauges up here tell me to do. Its called
flying by reference to instruments. Nothing to worry about." "Sounds
like fun" the husband says, to which I cant help but chuckle. We shoot
the approach, go through a few clouds (fair weather cumulus) and pop out
below the layer to find the airport right in front of us, just where it
should be. I get the clearance and do circle-to-land on 3. I make the
touch down very smooth, taxi over to the transient area and shutdown. The
flight was indeed over all too soon, as they both mentioned. "You two
take care of each other," I say as I shake their life-worn hands. "We
will," the wife says appreciatively. "Were just here to get him better
and then get on with it." I make sure they are set with ground
transportation and then wish them a Happy Valentines Day. "You too young
man!" they say in a verbal, staggered silhouette as they make their way
off of the ramp and out of sight.
I was low on oil, so found a lineman and filled back up. After a
quick walkaround, I climb onboard, unfurl myself in the seat and depart
Santa Monica for Van Nuys (my home base). The weather has continued to
improve so I just follow the 405 over the hill for a quick hop back home.
The sun is bright and warm. The sky is clearing. I touch down, taxi back
to the flight school and shutdown. Just sit a minute...
Yesterday was a good day.
Take care and I hope you are well!!
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