Dating a 64 Year Old Beauty…

… presents challenges and offers rewards – as I was about to find out!

She – I’m talking about my Cessna, of course – has been around the pattern more than a few times and knows how she wants to do it.
Gotta respect that – and adapt to it.

It took some effort, I have to admit.
Which was by no means her fault.

The biggest challenge for me was, as it turned out, to learn again how to charm a power-lady.
For decades my flying affairs were centered around skinny, long-legged cloud-dancers (I’m talking about sailplanes…!), who were just as happy rocking it between thermals as they were leaning softly into the gentle embrace of a mountain wave.                         With her I had to practice how to manage her intrinsic power in a tender but decisive way, to follow a protocoll rather than let myself be tempted by emotion and romance.
And Greg made sure I understood and exercised the required steps as I first asked her out to dance with me.

He also pointed out that up until now she had been taken exclusively to civilized venues with well maintained, polished dance floors and never set her feet spontaneuosly on the packed dirt of a polka ring at a country fair.

“We have to lure her into the sweet life out in the country” he said and suggested taking her to a nice rural place close to the beach, with a cute litle restaurant right along the grass runway.

Great idea – and convincing success!



I saw another challenge coming when we arranged our first night out. At dark everything looks different and optical illusions can play bad tricks on ones glide path control. Approaching a wide runway, for example, could make you believe that you’re too low. Consequently, you come in high and are done landing at 5 feet up, only to drop onto the asphalt like a dead fly – ouch, that would sure hurt…
So once again I stuck to formal procedures rather than trying to impress with cowboy-tricks, paid extra attention to the instruments and everything worked out well.
No complaints (or sore legs) on her part.

By now we had been flying almost every day for two weeks. Although this was definitely not the rhythm she was used to, she didn’t complain. Quite the contrary, actually, she began to drop subtle hints on how to do things ‘right’: pushing against the yoke when she was ready to lift the tail on take off, whistling with the flaps to have me extend the flare for softer touchdowns, gently rocking the wings when a thermal offered faster climb.

So here I’m already talking about the rewards: offering support and collaboration were the first signs of our maturing relationship. Add to that her predictable behavior and trustworthyness – none of the capricious, moody fits of a diva or a drama queen – and a growing eagerness (as I interpreted it…) to be a partner in coming adventures and I was sure we had successfully completed the dating process.

On towards our first trip together……

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