A Small Tribute

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Bad Eventer is taking a brief hiatus this post to tell a non Eventing story. 
(And don’t worry, I promise to get back to the horse shopping tales. I know the suspense is killing everyone!)

That is all the disclaimer you’re going to get.

“You should go!” my friend said, as she exchanged a conniving look with her mother.

“Really, you’ll like it.”

I wasn’t sure this was a good idea.

“No seriously, you two will get along great. You really should go.”

“I bet you love it.” “Mom” chimed in.

This has nothing to do with my story, but I just had to share the sneaky squirrel photo!

The pressure and intrigue was just too much and I agreed to meet “Dad” and go for a flight.

As promised, her father was fantastic.

Energetic, enthusiastic, persuasive…………….

Thrill seekers tend to recognize kindred spirits immediately and I could tell we had some kind of common ancestry.

Then I saw the plane.

“I built it last week!” he proudly told me…………….

I knew all about “kit planes”………………my enthusiasm was waning.

“This is gonna be great, come on!”

I think my ego was just big enough there was no way I could gracefully back out at this point.

What could I say?

Food poisoning? Is there a bathroom nearby?

I forgot my cat has an appointment at the vet? Oh yeah, I am the vet.

There was just no getting out of it, so I climbed in!

We took off.

Then “it” happened.

I will never forget this as long as I live.

We circled up over the river…… he turned to me and said, “Let’s pretend we’re Jet Fighters!!”

Then he put the plane into a crazy dive aimed right at a boat on the river. As we screamed down towards the water, he started making “machine gun noises” and motions with his hands like he was firing guns at the boat.” Boom-boom-boom-boom-boom-boom!!!!

If I didn’t think I was in trouble before then………………

Now I knew there was no doubt. I would have pinched myself to see if this was some kind of crazy dream if only I could have pried my fingers off the inside of the plane.

We dive bombed a couple of boats, while “mock shooting” them…… and I definitely left my stomach at a higher altitude…………………

When they didn’t actually sink he lost interest pretty quickly.

Then we started doing loops and rolls.

Yep, seriously.

I was upside down – in a plane – he built out of a box – the week before.

He asked how I was holding up, and told me a story about someone turning green.

I’m pretty sure I could have survived St. Patrick’s day without a pinch at that point but in true Bad Eventer style, I was not about to show weakness.

“I’m great!!”

“Super!!” he replied, “Let’s do some more tricks! Whoop!!!”

I wasn’t sure who was crazier. The pilot, or the crazy passenger who had willingly climbed in with him.

It really was pretty awesome.
If you live for adrenaline this was definitely a way to get your overdose in.

After thoroughly impressing me with his trick flying skills (and boy was he good.)
We were finally coming to a landing.

OK………….. so…………….. that whole landing thing…………………

I’ve taken some flying lessons.

And here’s the thing.

Taking off – piece of cake.

Flying – pretty darn simple.

Landing – now that’s the hard part.

There is a reason that airports have runways in different directions. This way they can always land the planes going into the wind. Much easier and safer that way.

We didn’t have that luxury.

He had a little tiny microscopic runway that only went one direction.

A pretty significant cross wind had come up while we were trying to blow boats out of the water.

This means the wind was blowing sideways compared to the direction we had to land.

As we were coming in for the landing, it happened.

A powerful gust grabbed the plane and turned it up on end.

Seriously.

One moment I was looking at the horizon, and the next I was looking at a large building –  sideways.

I had about a second to realize “this was it”, when in the most incredible maneuver ever done in a plane, he corrected for the cross wind and put us on the ground without even a stutter.

I knew at that moment he was the best pilot that ever lived.

And that I was never ever getting in a teensy tiny plane again.

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This was my way of giving a small tribute to that amazing pilot.
Thank You for giving me a fantastic story.
You will be missed.

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1 thought on “A Small Tribute

  1. Bif

    Missed? Oh, no. (Hopefully not airplane related; or if so, I guess he was doing what he loved?)

    Great story, the thought of it makes me want to hurl. I've ridden in some pretty small craft, but also know a guy with major problems from his wreck in a "built plane".

    My "No way, No how, Un-unh" button would totally gone off. I don't have that much pride. =)

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