“Four-whiskey-alpha – is that you?”
It was my former neighbor, Gary Wyant, from when Jean and I lived near Phoenix.
Once or twice a year, Gary cruises his motorcycle an hour northeast through the Mazatzal Mountains from Fountain Hills, and I soar 35 minutes southeast over the Mogollon Plateau from Flagstaff to rendezvous at Payson Airport’s Crosswinds Restaurant.
Often I invite friends along; this time it was my retired Flagstaff neighbors, Suzanne Golub and Sue Weber. Suzanne is a student pilot, and Sue has long requested a ride. So early the next morning, we three winged our way toward Payson.
“Is there anything you’d like to practice on this trip?” I asked Suzanne after takeoff.
“Frankly, the radio is my nemesis. Every time I push the mic button I get stage fright. In fact one day I was suffering and suffering on the radio while circling the traffic pattern. I babbled something on the radio, and the tower came back and said, ‘Four-whiskey-alpha – is that you?’” We laughed at her rendition of the controller’s quizzical inflection, and agreed that she’d handle communications this trip.
“What got you interested in piloting, Suzanne?” asked Sue.
“Actually Sue, I’ve had a great desire to fly for as long as I can remember. There’s not an airplane or helicopter that flies overhead that I don’t stop to watch, and wish I was going along, wherever they are going.”
Continue reading Greg’s March column, “Girls’ Morning Out,” here. (Please allow a moment for the column to load.)
Photo: Suzanne’s first solo, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Arizona. See additional photos, 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!