With Memorial Day around the corner and incessant babbling notwithstanding, I had to take a moment to reflect, and be thankful...
Yesterday my wife asked me to take her to visit the Grand-kids 325NM away in Midland, TX.* The flight in the RVX is under 2 hours with a casual stop for cheap fuel halfway.
Just another RV adventure...
Leveled off at 8500' and with my brain cell challenged aging mind
adrift I realized that I have been operating these wonderful little aircraft for nearly Thirty Years.
RV4 was just the beginning, light years seems like yesterday.
Van's VHS watched repeatedly to failure.
SLOW BUILD should always be all caps. So many to thank, so little time.
Cross Country a literal term. over 50 times "Vlad style"
before 9A's were designed...
The ID Backcountry, B17 Escort, 20,000' foray, 1V1 with an F16, too many sunrises and sunsets to count...
I remember donating to Cornerstone Ministries http://www.donateyourplane.com/
and strapping a set of RV4 wings and tail to my Truck...
I remember Arvil engineering the impossible: mating of those wings and tail to an RV6 fuselage. Project X
I remember doing the flyby and victory roll over his funeral with a big grin.
Those very same wings I stare at now as the West TX countryside zips past.
My wife smiles at me. I remember her brushing her teeth beside my Harmon Rocket at Johnson Creek in the rising sun.
I remember Dusty, my UPT T-38 table mate who lost his life in a KC135 on takeoff at Dyess AFB, passing just under the left wing. A true Patriot..
I remember Linchmob and I being comm-jammed so bad over Western Iraq and using our "RV common"
(122.22) as a get well frequency.
I remember taking Wolfman on his first combat mission in the F16. I remember him in his RV4 tucked in tight on my Four's wing like glue more times than I can count.
Sure miss him.
Brownwood TX slides by. My Dad dead-sticked a T-33 in there before I was born. I remember Dad executing a perfect greaser from the Four's back seat (despite my challenge, and bet loss to the contrary).
I remember him teaching me to fly before I could drive.
I remember doing a formation takeoff at Hicks field with DR grinning in Danny King's back seat of The Beautiful Doll
with a big camera, snapping away on the Wright's 100th anniversary (2003).
Thousands of takeoff and landings relegated to "muscle memory" Climb, level, descend, land. Repeat.
Easy to take for granted...
Easy indeed, with the freedoms we enjoy here in the good old US of A.
My wife reads a letter from Franklin Graham at Samaritan's Purse who spent Easter in Iraq. The cities he visited coincided with places I patrolled and bombed supporting our troops. The people now enjoy their first tastes of a very tentative and fragile Free Iraq
. Hallelujah, maybe what we fought for is paying off.
Freedom isn't free and having seen both sides of that tarnished coin I am very thankful. Thankful to live somewhere where I can fly an airplane I built in my garage across free airspace in a free country.
*The airport code MAF coinciding with one of my favorite organizations letter abbreviations Mission Aviation Fellowship (and the source of my paint scheme) weren't lost to the West TX wind.