“You’re So Vain…you flew your Learjet…to see the total eclipse of the sun,” taunted my friend Tom Lippert from the old Carly Simon song.
We laughed because he and his wife Laurel had just flown their Cessna 182, Henry, from Truckee, California, to meet our Flying Carpet in Hailey, Idaho for this year’s celestial event. Jean and I had originally planned to fly to Oregon, but amid predictions of gridlocked airports and roads I’d phoned Laurel and Tom, asking if and where they planned to view the eclipse.
“Greg, that’s three months away!” Laurel had chuckled. But upon learning that hotels and airport ramps were already filling, she proposed we rendezvous in Sun Valley where friends would loan us their condo. For 38 years, Jean has endured stories about the time I flew to Canada for a mid-winter total solar eclipse, on a weekend she had to work. (Flying Carpet, March, 2002) Now, finally, I hoped to share the experience with her.
As media hype grew, however, so did our concerns. Would there be room to land and park? Would the weather cooperate? Could we count on ground transportation? Should we bring groceries, assuming restaurants would be full and stores empty?
Then there was the route—traversing high mountains across Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, and transitioning Salt Lake City’s mountain-ringed Class Bravo airspace…
**Read Greg’s entire column, “WE’RE SO VAIN“** (Mobile link here.)
Top Photo: “Tom and Laurel Lippert eclipse-watching with Greg and Jean, at Galena Summit, Idaho.” Lower Photo: “Colander holes cast multiple images of the pre-totality eclipse.” SEE MORE PHOTOS!
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2017 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!