Throughout my often-interrupted flying history, there have been many memorable events, some standing out for how I scared myself through dumb cluck mistakes, and some for their delectable simplicity and beauty. Regarding the good memories, I imagine we all remember city lights at night, remarkable sunrises and sunsets, wildlife seen from the air, autumn colors, and so on. Perhaps one recalls memorable crosswind landings, pulled off successfully with flailing arms and legs and much sweat and a lot of satisfaction after the tiedowns were secure.
I hope others will write here about some of their most memorable experiences.
The one I offer here has no drama, no risks avoided or skills demonstrated; it was just, well, a great place to be that evening. It was a place that only airmen can experience.
I used to live in Rochester, Minnesota, where I owned an old but very nice Cessna 172. On this occasion, I had flown the Skyhawk to Lubbock, Texas, to see my mother after a brief emergency hospitalization. She was doing well, so the visit was short. When I decided to head home, my brother, who was then at loose ends, asked if he could come along. We left Lubbock a bit later than we intended, heading up into the Texas Panhandle on a pleasant summer day, making a couple of fuel stops.
The afternoon cumulus buildups started tossing us around, so I kept climbing to stay above the bumps, until in early evening we were at 10,000 ft MSL among higher tops. My brother—who’d brought no shoes but flipflops—was freezing, we were tired, and I wanted to stay VFR. So, nearing Omaha, we decided to call it a day and started our descent. A call to Omaha approach brought a remarkable woman’s voice, I have to say one of the sexiest voices I have ever heard or could ever hope to hear. My brother looked at me open-mouthed and said, “Wow.”
As we descended below the cloud bases, it was dusk, with some haze making the lights of Omaha look quite pretty. The air was dead calm, and we felt as if we were just suspended in the air. This sexy lady must have been alone in the cab, because she stayed on the radio throughout.
As we began a long final approach, the breathy lady cleared us to land, again in a soft, alluring, and truly remarkable tone. When established, I took my hands and feet from the controls, and the air was so still that the old Skyhawk just slid down final as if on a wire. After the smoothest touchdown of my life, she cleared us to the ramp: “Welcome to Omaha. Good niiiiight.”
I looked at my brother and he at me, both of us wide-eyed. I said, “Care for a tower visit?” Simultaneously, we both said, “Naaaah.” Kelvin said, “I don’t want to spoil this; I just want to imagine what she looks like!”
The FBO was welcoming and helpful, got us a room at a nice motel across the road, and advised us the airport restaurant was the best in town. There we found tablecloths, skilled waiters, great food, and considerable tolerance for our casual dress, including my brother’s flipflops. A leisurely meal, a glass of wine, and to bed.
Our interaction with the sexy-voiced controller, and our glassy-smooth ride to a whisper-soft landing at Omaha took all of 15 minutes, but my brother and I recalled it with enormous pleasure for many years. I still rather wish we’d made that tower visit! It was a magic moment that non-flyers simply could not experience. Please tell us one of yours.