Sharpening skills for family travel
“I missed out on a bunch of flying this weekend,” lamented my neighbor, Alan Herring, over dinner.
Alan is a dairy-cattle veterinarian and fellow pilot; he owns a Cessna 170 taildragger, and a Turbo 182. Alan and his wife Jeanie live near Phoenix, and commute on weekends to their vacation home here in Flagstaff. He’d just finished describing how his family names all their vehicles; the Skylane goes by “Wanda,” and the 170 is called “Willy.”
“Our daughter Emily is down in Tucson attending the archrival Arizona State University – University of Arizona football game,” Alan explained. “Her sister Libby is at home west of Phoenix. They’re coming to Flagstaff tomorrow to join us for one night. The plan was for Jeanie and me to fly up here in Wanda yesterday. The girls were to rendezvous tomorrow morning at Glendale Airport, where I’d pick them up. Then we’d all fly home together on Sunday. Sounds crazy for just one night, but we always have a good time together and the girls have shopping in mind. But when we got ready to fly here yesterday, Wanda’s battery was dead, and it was too late to address it.”
I asked about the girls’ contingency travel plan. Emily would now drive from Tucson to Tempe in the morning. Libby would come from the west valley to meet her, and they’d continue to Flagstaff together. Returning home Sunday, they’d detour to retrieve the extra car.
“That’s complicated for one night, and quite a drive,” I observed. “Why don’t you and I just pick up Libby and Emily at Glendale Airport in the Flying Carpet tomorrow? Then they could ride home with you and Jeanie Sunday without leaving cars all over the place.” Alan and Jeanie expressed surprise.
“Oh, we couldn’t ask you to do that,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked. “That would give the girls more time to enjoy their brief visit. And you’d get an extra couple hours of family time traveling home together instead of driving separately. Besides, it’s always fun seeing Emily and Libby — and what more productive excuse could I find to enjoy a morning’s flying?“…
READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE FLYING CARPET COLUMN, “FUN FLIGHT.” (Allow a moment for the article to load.)
Photo: Emily, Libby, and Alan Herring at Glendale Airport, Arizona.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2015 Gregory N.Brown