“What’s that smell?”
I awoke to a text from my friend Sergio Schaar of San Antonio, asking if I’d noticed the airline-window view of Flagstaff he’d posted online. I had, and wondered at the time where he might be going.
“We’re in Las Vegas to see Rascal Flats; Deanna is a big fan.” he explained. “When I spotted the San Francisco Peaks from 40,000 feet coming from Texas yesterday, it didn’t take long to identify Flag.” I asked how long the two were staying in Vegas.
“We’re leaving tomorrow at noon,” he replied.
“Ugh. I was thinking of flying over tomorrow to meet you for lunch. You’re only 90 minutes from Flagstaff by Flying Carpet, practically in the neighborhood.”
“That’s a cool idea—how about today?!” wrote Sergio. This is what airplanes are for, right? So I texted back “Sure!” and scrambled to get up and out the door to the airport.
It proved to be a sparkling clear day, with light winds on the ground and aloft. En route to Las Vegas I entertained myself ogling vistas of the western Grand Canyon. In seemingly no time, I rendezvoused with my friends at Henderson Executive Airport (KHND).
Jean and I first met Sergio and his son Max three years ago when they toured the Southwest in their 180hp Cessna 172, the Green Hornet. (See Flying Carpet Tour, FT 6/13.) We dined with Sergio and Deanna in San Antonio a few months later, but that’s the last time I’d seen them in person.
Sergio flies often, including numerous Pilots N Paws missions, and excitedly revealed that he’s changing careers to pursue pro piloting. He recently earned his commercial pilot certificate, and just enrolled for flight-instructor training.
Deanna backs Sergio’s dream 100%, having left a corporate job to indulge her own passion for animals with a thriving pet-sitting business. What an inspiring couple! A brief but fulfilling hour later, my friends dashed off to catch the shuttle back to the Strip.
I was cruising happily homeward through cobalt skies, when a nasty odor filled the cockpit…
**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, “VEGAS FOR LUNCH.“**
Top photo: The Las Vegas Strip viewed from final approach to Runway 35L, Henderson Executive Airport, Nevada. (KHND)
Lower photo: Sergio and Deanna Schaar greet me at Henderson Executive Airport.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2016 Gregory N.Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!