On February 15th, a Thursday, I flew my newest niece (Eleanor Electra Lehman) up to Santa Barbara so that she could have lunch with her dad (Sharalyn, her mom, rode in back with her). Ellie is already a veteran of small planes, having ridden out to Catalina months ago with my brother at the controls. And he then flew the three of them all around Florida, staying clear of a tornado that was passing through at the same time.
Ellie is always happy, so she makes a great passenger. Usually she has a nifty headband she wears for ear protection. Since that was with Adam in his plane, she had on a real headset; the cans were almost as large as her head and you can see her puzzling over the things she was hearing. “Hold short? Who are you calling short?”
The flight was totally uneventful and fairly brief. I was worried about turbulence, but there was none. I slipped a little on short final because I was a little high. I mentioned it and Sharalyn said, “I was wondering what that was, because Adam doesn’t fly like that.” Well, he plans his approaches better than I do. We had very little time (I had to get back to Santa Monica to collect my own from school), but the FBO was nice and zipped us back and forth to the lunch place on the beach. During the flight Ellie seemed a little cross at times, but it turned out she was tired, and in due course simply fell asleep.
The next Saturday I flew my thirteen-year old niece, Libby, and nephew, Max, out to Catalina Island. We stopped in Torrance first, and then I asked if they wanted to go out to have lunch on the island. Libby had enjoyed the ride down to Torrance, and voted we cross the channel so we did. It wasn’t a lunch, just a soda for Libby and me, but Max had a tuna melt. (I’ve eaten at the burger place too often and I can’t stomach another buffalo burger for a while yet.) Foolishly, I didn’t have my camera with me for the Catalina trip. Max and Libby were both shooting away with their cell phone cameras, so maybe I’ll get some of those in email and I’ll post them here.
It’s great fun taking people up in a small plane for their first time (or, in Max’s case, his second). In passenger jets the windows are too small and in our little plane you stay low and slow, so you really experience the landscape in a way that you never do otherwise.