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ser·en·dip·i·ty: noun \ˌser-ən-ˈdi-pə-tē\  : luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.

Memorial Day weekend in northeast Ohio was turning out to be a needed break from a long, hard winter and a stormy spring. I did not get to do much flying since fall and the beautiful morning was not one to be passed up. I asked my wife if she wanted to fly to Salem (38D) for brunch, but she had things on her to-do list and said I should just go. First valuable and pleasant item.

So it was off to Kent State airport (1G3) to knock off the last of the winter doldrums. I told Brenda I would be back soon to attend to the grass and flower beds.

TBM Avenger

A chance to see this airplane fly? Serendipity.

The morning was turning out to be perfect for some aviating–extremely clear, visibilities forever and the winds light and variable. Next valuable and pleasant item.

Just as I was finishing up the pre-flight and getting ready to pull the Cherokee out of the hangar, Frank (the other owner) pulled up. After confirming that great minds think alike and that I was only going to bum around, we decided to load up and head to his planned destination–Port Clinton (PCW). The grass would be there when I got back. I texted Brenda with the change in plans and prepared our departure. That was the third valuable and pleasant item.

I was going to do the outbound leg and I asked Frank if he would mind being my safety pilot while I tried some IFR flying. I had just completed the IFR ground school at Kent State and needed to build on my three hours of IFR time. Frank used to instruct so this was a non-issue for him. So after getting up and settled on route, I donned the Foggles and tried to keep the plane on course and altitude with some degree of success. That was another valuable and pleasant item.

Port Clinton is a really neat place. It has a 50s-style diner named the Tin Goose. And more important, the Liberty Aviation Museum is located on the field. The museum is home to the B25 Mitchell bomber Georgie’s Gal. Port Clinton is also the new home of a TBM Avenger owned by a friend of Frank, Charlie Cartlege. As we were getting out of our Cherokee, Charlie was pulling the TBM out to do some fly-bys over the Lake Erie Islands. Another valuable and pleasant item.

After saying hello to Charlie, he asked Frank if he wanted to ride along in the tail gunner’s seat (navigator’s seat was already spoken for). Frank looked at me kind of sheepishly and asked if I had the time to wait. Figuring I would have gone in a second without even thinking of him, I said of course; you cannot pass up that opportunity. I did get to help with getting the TBM ready by pulling the prop, moving ladders and chocks and making sure the wings did not hit anything when they unfolded. One more valuable and pleasant item.

After watching them taxi and take off, I sat down in the patio area of the Tin Goose (did I mention it was a beautiful day?) and not knowing exactly how long they would be gone, ordered a wonderful lunch. Oh, and texted Brenda again with an update on events.

After they returned and got the TBM secured, we all went back in the diner so they could have lunch.  Since I had already eaten and Frank was buying, I decided that a chocolate milkshake would make for a nice dessert. Now that’s another valuable and pleasant item.

I finally got home several hours later than expected and Brenda wanted to hear all about the flight and the TBM. Most guys would think that would be another “Valuable and pleasant item” to add to the list and it was. But Brenda likes to fly and knows that days like that are quite unique. Because of her, I knew I could do those things with only a small amount of guilt. It was serendipity the day I met her, and it has been valuable and pleasant ever since.

And the grass was still waiting.

Wayne Schneider
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6 replies
  1. Bill Marrison
    Bill Marrison says:

    Wonderful day, but, why do we all have to swap grass and flower beds for flying? My goal is to get one hour of flying for one hour of grass/flowers. I know I will never get there but it’s still a worthy goal.

    • Wayne
      Wayne says:

      Bill, haha maybe we should all go with “the grass/flowers are not going anywhere”. Get the flying in first and tie flashlights to the mower.

  2. Lee Dalton
    Lee Dalton says:

    Thanks for a good story. It’s 2020 now, so not sure this will get to you, but here goes.

    This ol’ flier graduated from KSU in 1965 and one summer, I managed to fly to school every day I had classes from our little airstrip near Hiram (Farview). One memorable day, found I couldn’t land at Kent for nearly 20 minutes until ground fog burned off. Also lucky because the first day of classes, when hitchhiking from airport to campus, a fellow student picked me up. Then, in return for some plane rides, he was there every morning I needed him for the rest of the summer.

    Also, one memorable day in about 1961, the KSU Skydiving Club jumped from one of Interisland Airways Ford trimotors at an airshow in Sandusky. Due to a mistake by our jump master, we landed in a swamp about two miles from the airport and had to be rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter that hauled us and our soggy chutes back to the airport and set us down in front of about ten thousand jeering spectators.

    Ah, well. Haven’t been back there since I graduated, but it looks like I wouldn’t recognize much of the place now.

    Anyway, thanks for a good story.

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