Saturday, September 1, 2012

Conversations You Don't Have Every Day

A couple weeks ago I took my daughter and her teenage friend, Maddie, with me up to the Willows airport for a weekend at Thunderhill Raceway. It was my daughter's birthday and she wanted to spend it at the track. After all, she'd been at race tracks since before she was born. She's well known at the track and wanted to share her birthday with her track friends. I figured it would be a good idea to talk to Maddie's mom to make sure she was OK with me taking her daughter in a small plane, after all, some people don't like that idea.

The conversation when something like this:

I just wanted to check with you if it's OK for me to fly Maddie up to the track on Friday.
long pause
Ummm... fly?
longer pause
In a plane?
Yes, I'm a pilot. I've been flying for a little over two years and I fly up to this track a lot. It is a much quicker trip by air than by car.  I fly a Cessna 172.
What time will you get back? 
We should be back at the airport about 8:30 PM maybe 9, Sunday night. 
That's after dark.
Yes, it is. I'm night trained and current and have been doing much night flying recently. I fly very carefully at all times.
Ummm, where is this track? 
It's in Willows. About an hour south of Redding on Highway 5. Its about a four hour drive by car. 
long pause
Are you going to race? 
At this point I'm starting to understand the types of activities that I see as every day are not exactly normal for this person... not only am I suggesting I take her child in a scary airplane, now she's wondering if I want her in a race car too!
No, I don't race anymore. I do race control. The girls won't be getting into any race cars. They will just hang out at the track. Its a very family friendly atmosphere. 
If you aren't comfortable with me flying Maddie up there, that's OK. We can certainly drive. 
Ummmm, let me talk to her dad and call you back tomorrow. 

Katie and Maddie
In the end she talked with Maddie's dad, who had questions about how long I'd been flying and how often I've flown that route. I suppose my answers were good enough because they decided to let Maddie fly with us. Katie got to have her friend with her on her birthday and Maddie had an awesome time. She was so comfortable in the plane that I let her take the controls on the return trip (with a hand ready to jump in if needed). She got to fly the plane. I think she liked that too!

It is conversations like this that remind me what an amazing life I live. Flying, racing, and running. Its surprising I have time to work :) It's a great life, I just have to remember to ease other people into the concept a little bit more gently sometimes.

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