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Archive for July 17th, 2008

Wild. Blue. Yonder.

I married into a family of aviators.  My father-in-law, mother-in-law, and one brother-in-law are all career Air Force.  My mother-in-law still flies and belongs to the Ninety Nines.  My in-laws live within blocks of a sizeable general aviation airport.  My husband and his siblings each took a turn in belonging to the Civil Air Patrol.  When I say that their heads are in the clouds, I mean it. 

When my husband turned 40, his midlife crisis took the form of wanting to get his pilot’s license.  I suppose I am relieved that he didn’t take up fast cars and loose women, or buy a motorcycle and get a tattoo.  We all have that last wild oat to sow.  His is the completion of a lifelong dream that began as a young teen.  Aviation fuel runs in his blood.  So for the past three years, he has spent as many weekends as his schedule and wallet would allow, working toward his license. 

He’s very close. 

All of this is well and good and fine, and I am happy that he has a passion.  I am also making sure that his life insurance is paid up. 

There are a lot of interests that we share, and a few interests that we don’t.  Flying is one of those areas where we differ in opinion.  I am not a fan of flying.  I don’t mind that he spends his time hanging around our little podunk airport, and that he subscribes to flying magazines.  But it’s his thing.  My thing is more firmly rooted in gravity.  The only flying I enjoy is on horseback, during that couple of seconds where all four hooves are out of contract with the ground in a full gallop. 

This divergence of interests works pretty well when we don’t foist them off on one another.  I don’t make him get on a horse and he doesn’t ask me to get in a plane. 

But that’s about to change.  His father is buying an airplane. 

This is a subject that has been bantered about for the past three years during every family get-together, but knowing how notoriously tight my father-in-law can be, I never thought it would come to fruition.  But he’s now put his money where his mouth is.  In the waning years of his life, he has started spreading his money around.  For his wife and his youngest son, he is buying an airplane. 

My husband has already started talking about the trips we can take in the plane.  I try to smile bravely about it, but frankly, tootling around in a little four-seater is a bit more than I want to do.  I’ve read enough of his flying magazines to know that flying is not to be undertaken lightly. 

Oh, but it gets better.  Not only does he want to start flying about on trips, he wants me to learn how to land the plane.  Which I agree is a really good idea, because getting safely down is paramount to living.  But have you seen the cockpit of a Piper Cherokee? 

Lots of dials and buttons and spinny things and stuff.  This intimidates me.  A lot. 

With a horse, it’s pretty simple.  Left, right, stop, go.  Sure, you can get hurt.  But you’re not doing it at ten thousand feet.  A plane is miles and miles more complicated. what with altitude and air speed and cross winds and the like.  You don’t get it right, you die. 

I’m not too sure about this. 

 

 

— Mox

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