Nothing’s more rewarding for pilots than a mission.
“Shay needs a ride home for Easter weekend—do you know anyone driving to Flagstaff from Phoenix?” texted our friend Terri from Window Rock, in far northeast Arizona.
Terri’s niece Shay is a university student in suburban Phoenix. Along with joining family for the holiday, she wanted to visit an ailing relative and her cousin’s young baby. But Shay has no car, nor is there efficient public transportation for the 300-mile drive from Phoenix to Window Rock. She sometimes rides five hours home with a classmate, but this time he could offer only the return trip.
Flagstaff is only halfway to Window Rock, but from there Terri could retrieve Shay in an afternoon’s drive. None of my neighbors, however, expected holiday visitors from Phoenix. So I offered my young friend a Flying Carpet ride.
Delivering Shay from Glendale Municipal Airport (KGEU) directly to Window Rock would have saved Terri hours of driving, but for me it meant flying four hours in afternoon turbulence, half with an inexperienced passenger. So instead I proposed rendezvousing Shay with Terri at Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport (KINW), just an hour flight from Glendale and two hours’ drive from Window Rock.
Shortly after I landed at Glendale on the appointed day, Shay texted that she’d arrived–but was nowhere in sight…
**Read Greg’s entire column, “FLYING CARPET RIDE” ** Mobile friendly version here.
Photo: Shay (r) greets her grandmother and Aunt Terri (l) at Arizona’s Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2019 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!