I am sitting at the keyboard writing this after returning from one of those fantastic autumn flights over southern Alberta where the best flying weather of the year is always in late September and early October.
It doesn’t get much better than lazily drifting over the country side watching combine after combine cutting moirier patterns into miles of fields as they bring in the harvest, and drinking in the many colours of the trees along the rivers and in the valleys.
I had decided to take an early morning flight in my PA-12 to one of my favourite spots for breakfast before going into work. I casually asked my wife Louise if she might like to come along rather than rushing into work as we usually did. As expected she said thanks but no thanks.
So I strolled out to the hangar and rolled the PA-12 out to the fuel tank (I live beside my own airstrip in case you’re wondering). Just as I finished fueling up Louise came running out of the house shouting, "Wait a minute!" Oh oh, what did I forget to do?
"I changed my mind", she said, "I’m coming with you. It’s too nice a day to pass up." Wow. Score a point for me.
So off we went to a small town airstrip not too far away. Louise had never been there before but I knew she would like it. There’s a grass strip on the edge of town with a little Teahouse not 300 yards from the runway. They serve up great country cooking and a huge slice of small-town hospitality.
By the time we had finished our bacon, eggs, toast and tea for $5.00 each, Louise and the proprietress were best buddies. She loved the place. Score another point for me.
They had an interest in common. Louise collects and sells used books to raise money for charity and the lady who owns the Teahouse also collects and resells used books. But she has too many and is having difficulty getting rid of them in this small town. So they were donated to Louise and arrangements were made for me to return with an empty airplane another day and haul back cartons of books. A worthwhile chore if ever I saw one.
On the way home we took in the great fall scenery below while discussing the idea of a Teahouse at our airstrip. Louise was excited over the idea of setting up a little Teahouse on our property as a retirement project. I didn’t want to discourage her so I was very careful not to remind her that she hates to cook. But she has a good head for business so maybe she can figure our how to run a Teahouse without cooking. I have a sinking feeling this discussion might come back to haunt me in the future.
What started out to be a short hop for breakfast turned into almost a full day of fun aviating on a beautiful fall day in October. We didn’t make it into work until after 2 pm.
So why am I telling you this story? I had originally intended to fill my column with facts and figures about the latest cost of aircraft, the trends in aircraft ownership, and how the U.S. economic crisis might affect aircraft prices in the near future.
After such a great flight I just couldn’t bring myself to write a boring column about facts and figures. I hope this warm, whimsical flying story will make you feel like getting out there and flying. After all, isn’t that what this is all about?
Keep your prop spinning.