I believe this settles the debate: She IS going to fly one day

6:52 PM

By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

For 5.5 years since my granddaughter has been on this Earth, we have debated whether she will ever take an interest in airplanes, and in this wonderful thing I call the aviation family.

Well today, I think this debate ended.

I have taken her flying at 18 months and again at about three-years-old, and both times - maybe it was the way the Lycoming 0-540 purrs in Katy - she fell fast asleep before we left pattern altitude outbound.

Naturally, I was beginning to wonder...did she have the flying gene? Technically, she is my step-son's daughter, but there were a few aviators in my wife's family. Blood or not, it is hard to imagine her spending much time with me these days without a whole bunch of aviation DNA being transferred by osmosis.

I have a test that everyone I meet must pass before I can say they are without question...an aviator. It's what happens when an aircraft is spotted on the horizon heading across the sky. Ernest K. Gann describes this phenomenon best in his classic book, Fate is the Hunter:
"You can always tell when someone has lost his soul to flying. They are hopelessly committed to stopping whatever they are doing long enough to look up and make sure the aircraft purring overhead continues on course and does not suddenly fall out of the sky."
This happens all day every day while at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Two or more people are chatting it up when one, two or a formation of a few dozen aircraft come into view. Suddenly, and without exception, all conversation ends until EVERY plane in view disappears over the horizon. This happens because - as Gann says - everyone at Oshkosh HAS in fact "lost their soul to flying."

So today, I am escorting my young (and did I say supercute?) granddaughter across the parking lot of the completely awesome Portland Zoo, and we had a good convo going about what was more "awesomer", the Pink Flamingos or the Bald Eagles. I placed my vote for the Eagles, but was not making much ground on the lass when off in the distance we saw it...an expensive helicopter coming fast and low over Washington Park. Could have been a Bell product, but for sure it was turbine powered and in a hurry to get somewhere.

I turned to point out the inbound, and while it was still a speck over the trees, her gaze was already locked on as if guided by lasers. I continued to jabber on about zoo animals, when I noticed she had stopped talking. There was something far more important capturing her attention. So I watched her eyes, and read her body language:
Sure enough, my granddaughter never took her eyes off the helicopter, pivoting as she shielded her eyes from the sun to get a better look. I was no longer relevant in her world, for only those few seconds that the helicopter flew by. When the craft had flown from view over the trees, she turned back to me, and as if nothing had happened, simply said "the Pink Flamingos."
Nobody in this planet was as proud of her as I was at that very moment. She looked up at me and asked why I was smiling. I answered that I'd tell her someday.

Then I asked her if she's ever heard of a place called Oshkosh.

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