Naturally, since I now work in the aircraft / flying business, it was a job requirement to go for a ride. With barely restrained trepidation, I climb into the small 1946 Piper PA12 Super Cruiser, strap myself in and clutch my knees with gloved hands. The pilot and my new boss is an animated, cheerful woman, several years my senior. Her enthusiasm for this business, this airplane and flying is contagious. She has already teased me about driving like an old woman in the snow, I must overcome my case of chicken and just enjoy this gift of an opportunity.
Our takeoff is smooth and effortless. In no time and only a small stretch of runway, we are in the air. Fresh snow paints the landscape and picturesque farms, normally hidden from view stand out as islands of pure white scattered throughout the western Maine forests. The Saco River twists and turns below us as we soar along. The plane jostles here and there, “just an innocent little bump” she tells me. I experience more turbulence driving over the frost heaved, pock marked back roads of my neighborhood. I forget to be timid as we slowly descend and skim our skis along a snow covered pond.
We circle around and land, back where we started. But not exactly where we started. I am different. I have felt the seductive powers of flight in a small aircraft and I will look upon my colleagues and customers with new understanding.