Monday, September 10, 2007

Family Flying 3 - Mom

"Here are your wings. Love, Mom."

My mom was waiting at the airport fence when I landed from flying with my Nana. She seemed a tad nervous, maybe just excited, as we walked out to the plane together. I showed her how to use the seatbelts and how to lock and open the door, then I walked around the plane and got in. A few minutes later we rolled down Runway 14 and climbed toward the ocean.

"Wow, it's really right there!" she said. With nearly unlimited visibility, an object the size of the Atlantic ocean appears "right there" from less than 10 miles away at 1,200 feet. I repeated the flight I had done with my grandmother, accelerating to 120 knots at 1,200 feet, then slowing to 80 knots at 1,000 feet as we flew South along the beach from Wells to Ogunquit.

I turned right to head Northwest when we were over Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, catching this photo of my mom as I did so.

She didn't seem in the least discomforted by the bank angle. As we headed Northwest, she was looking at the instrument panel and at the ground for landmarks.

We were a couple miles inland when she picked out my brother's house among the trees. I circled around twice while she snapped photos through the window.

We continued on toward the airport, looking for my parents' house where I grew up. The house is only 3 miles from the airport, so I was a bit nervous to be maneuvering at a low, pattern altitude. I announced our position relative to the airport on the CTAF and only circled once. It's a very pretty house in a beautiful setting.

We returned to the airport and I performed my second near-flawless landing of the day. My mom climbed out of the airplane all smiles.

Later that evening, I handed my logbook to my mom to let her "endorse" it. She joked (?) that she was going to have trouble sleeping because she would be thinking about everything she saw. She held onto the logbook for a couple days before giving it back. When she did, she had written the following:

"The York County (Maine) fly-over produced vivid sensations & images - all of them great - that continue to swirl through my mind. The pilot, who happens to be my son, was considerate & excellent. Thank you, Pilot Greg! Here are your wings. Love, Mom."
Pinned to the page was a set of gold plastic wings with the Delta Airlines insignia.
You see, in 1979, for my sixth birthday, my parents gave me my first flight in an airplane. My cousin, Janet, and I were put all alone on a Delta flight from Portland, Maine, to Bangor, Maine. It's only 100 nautical miles from Portland to Bangor, and the flight lasted all of 20 minutes. But we were aloft, alone, I looked down on houses and hills for the first time, and it was a major highlight of my life to that point. The stewardess gave each of us these gold, plastic wings.

According to my mom, who held onto them for the last 28 years, I've now earned those wings. And that feels very good.



Blogger Brandie and Wes said...

Awww.... I admit that I am a little teary eyed after reading this. How incredibly sweet.

4:40 PM  

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