The new falcon herald logo.
General Articles

The best dreams are those we share

The low-flying airplane drifting in on final approach for landing at Falcon’s Meadow Lake Airport was once mine. I pulled to the shoulder and gazed upward affectionately, as she floated in on silvery wings through gentle air. That old Skyhawk and I go way back. She was once the four-seat “family airplane.”Before her, I had a couple of “learning airplanes” when I was young and in my 20s. First I’d owned an old fabric-winged Aeronca Chief – so old it had no electrical system. That means tying the tail down, yelling “CONTACT!” and pulling the prop through by hand to start her. Then came a two-seat Cessna 150 straight tail – turns out that this was a learning and dating airplane! As a young 20-something meeting someone new, I always kept the plane a secret. I wanted to be appreciated for me and not the super power that little planes confer upon those with whom they are acquainted. The super power is one that gives a whole new perspective to life and our small worries far below, and also includes the ability to fly.Oh sure, we’ve nearly all been on airliners before, but such travel isn’t really flying. Can sardines fly? What if they can squint out of a little side port hole? Airline “flying” isn’t a patch to looking out an expansive front wind screen and being able to go wherever you want by moving your wrist and rudder foot. No, the airliner is the “sky bus” and while aboard it we are mere freight, human cattle.A light plane is a sports car that can soar between cloud castles or plummet low after crossing a jagged mountain range and skim the undulating cactus-studded desert, as well as climb and bank left or right. A light plane isn’t something you sit in, it’s something you wear. These are your wings, an extension of you and your mind, your dreams.One day, when I figured the time was right, I let the lady I was dating – the lady with whom one day I’d build a life and have children – know about the little two-seat Cessna. On our first flying date, we flew 150 miles to the Mogollon Rim, Zane Grey country for breakfast. What a bubbly enthusiastic time we had! No shortage of conversation. Of course, if you know pilots, you’d know silent stretches are never the problem!As our sturdy silver wings spread above the jagged spires of the Superstition Mountains, she fell asleep against my shoulder. I was so proud. What a good pilot I must be for her to be so trusting. Sometime later I was to discover she could sleep through “Aliens.” I sold the “dating airplane” when our second baby came. Family comes first, and a single engineer had lots more free cash than a married one with young children. The airplane had to go, and I became a penguin, a flightless bird.Finances improved and another airplane came into our lives. With this family airplane, a four-seater, I would take our little children flying often and sometimes we’d include a little friend. Tommer and my son were about 10 years old and famous friends. They had spent the weekend at our place playing army together.The boys’ weekend of adventure and imagination was capped off with a flight home to Fort Collins for young Tommer, who wanted to help with everything as I got the plane ready to fly. How could I refuse? With his help, the pre-flight check only took twice as long. So many questions! To share and experience flying with a 10-year-old boy’s eager perspective was magical; our mutual enthusiasm infectious. Since Tommer had never been in a light plane, I had him sit up front as my co-pilot. We wore the headsets with the boom mics. Tommer exhibited great self-control by containing his enthusiasm when I had to talk on the radio.Tommer loved the big, complicated instrument panel, but most of the trip he looked out the window. No kid ever looked at a video game with more intensity. The spinning propeller caught sunlight and threw a shining “S” curve across our view over the nose. We rumbled and banked and the underside of high wings shimmered and reflected west Denver mountain foothills below. The wings and struts framed vistas of mountain fastness on one side and on the other, a perfect toy city with tiny cars moving through it far below. My kids were enjoying it from the back seat but for them flying was not uncommon. Tommer couldn’t get enough and peppered me with oohs and aahs and so many happy questions as we rumbled through the sky.Tommer was having such pleasure from his complete immersion into aviation that I broached the idea to my passengers of heading to a nearby local practice area and doing a little “float the orange” flying. Oh, they all wanted to but then I recalled cousin Jason. After a few dives floating the orange and a few pull ups, pinning us to our seats, Jason had gotten ominously quiet. “Jay, you doing okay?” I’d asked. Jay replied, “Oh yeah!” And then: “Uncle Tom, you got something? You know, like a BAG or something?” The sick sack was barely enough. Turned out Jay had had a large breakfast.I thought it over, figured it was worth the risk and acquiesced. Happily, Tommer had no such issues. Finally, I had to break us out of the practice area and bank north for the downtown Fort Collins airport, lest we are late and his parents worry. Throttled back to 80 mph in the airport traffic pattern over Fort Collins, I’d let him follow me through on the dual controls to landing. Tommer’s feet couldn’t reach the rudder pedals, but he was having too much fun to notice as I guided him through a sweet tire-chirping landing, his parents waving to us.Tommer hadn’t wanted it to end. That 10-year-old and I understood each other and connected completely and viscerally on that long-ago afternoon. Flying gets deep into those that understand. Houses and cars, fancy or humble, and people, kind or cruel – they all get smaller when you pull the stick back. A meditation of the air, flying pulls us away from all earthly concern. We return more than refreshed. A perfect landing and when the thrumming prop slows and then stops with a final wiggle wag, we hop out exhilarated.I sold that old Skyhawk to an eager young pilot some years ago. Glad to see him flying it and landing at Meadow Lake. I thought as I sat in my car. Family always trumps a hobby, even a hobby that once gave me a super power. Flying is the stuff of dreams for me, and I have upgraded my pilot license and will fly again this summer.My son and his little best friend, Tommer, are both 25 years old now. Seems Tommer developed an addiction. To this very day, Tommer is a bush pilot in Alaska.Tom

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers