“It’s a blast!” I replied. “Not only does the plane perform better in cold air, but nothing beats playing tag with snowcapped mountains. You’ll love it!”
I’d long promised Tyler and another teen pilot, Zack, this trip over their holiday vacations from school. Both young men aspire to professional piloting careers: Tyler in large commercial planes, and Zack via the Air Force Academy. The two hadn’t met, so I’d suggested that Zack and I fly to Window Rock, Arizona, where Tyler would take a turn at the controls. There, I hoped the two would become friends and support each other’s efforts.
In the process, Jean and I would visit our friends Adriel and Holly Heisey, the folks who’d first introduced us to Tyler, in nearby Gallup, New Mexico. Jean and Holly planned some quality “girl time” while the boys and I flew.
Never propose piloting adventures to young people unless you plan to follow through. By Thanksgiving Zack and Tyler were phoning almost daily to ensure I didn’t forget my offer. Between everyone’s family obligations, however, Christmas approached without us leaving the ground.
“We’ll fly between Christmas and New Years,” I promised, but a blizzard stymied our plans. We then settled on December 31st, but Adriel and Holly were hosting New Year’s guests. That left only the boys’ final vacation weekend for our flying adventure.
Photo: Sunset over Window Rock Airport, Arizona. See additional photos from this story, here.
©2011 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!