You’ve heard by now we’ve got a very special guest coming to the Lady Taildraggers Fly-in next week and Susan and I are incredibly happy about it! Oh, make that THREE special guests! #1 Summer Martell – the pilot, #2 Chrissy – the co-pilot, ……. and #3 the 1931 Student Prince Bi-Plane they will be flying! OK, now let that soak in. A 1931 aircraft. Lindbergh flew his historic transatlantic flight in 1927. It’s hard to wrap your mind around it, I know, but you must to totally appreciate what these two women from Washington state are about to do.
I’ve been following Summer Martell’s new blog and want to make sure you all have a chance to too. Summer is planning on departing her home airport in Washington state Sunday, August 7 and begin her cross country journey to Moraine Airpark in Dayton, Ohio. Here’s a recent post from Summer’s blog.
When I said yes to this adventure, there was never a question of whether or not I’d take someone with me. When the front cockpit of the Student Prince is not occupied, I find it such a waste of an experience for someone as well as for myself. It’s always better when good times are shared!
Because I am flying across the country to attend a fly in hosted by lady pilots for ladies who own and fly vintage, tailwheel airplanes, I also knew immediately that it would be perfectly appropriate to take another woman. A dear friend of mine, one of the most dynamic and fun loving souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing was my first choice. She and I are both pilots (we’ve actually flown business jets together!), we get along like a house on fire, and we had talked about doing a trip together in the Prince. I pitched the idea to her and she was enthusiastic but alas, carving the time to take the trip was not possible and she had to decline.
Quite honestly, there were very few people who fit my ideal criteria for this trip: Female, adventurous, fun, flexible, capable, and able to take off for an unspecified amount of time. I also wanted to take someone that I share a certain kinship with. The kind of person who will not only wade headlong into some crackpot scheme with me, but when we laugh together and look at one another while tears roll down our cheeks from hilarity, we are really reveling in the experience of feeling alive in the moment and connected. It was a tall order, and fortunately for me there was one such person who fit the bill to a T.
Chrissy and I have had most of our adventures while riding our horses together. We have bonded deeply through many fantastic miles covered on horseback and our common philosophies and ideas around the care and well being of our beloved animals. I enjoy and appreciate her homespun commonsense, her fantastic wit that is all her own, her sharp intelligence, and her keen sense of adventure. When I asked her if she’d like to fly across the country with me, I was tickled when she shouted, “YES!!!” while jumping up and down. If she were a dog she would have been wagging furiously. Her husband Javan kindly agreed to part with his wife for a couple of weeks. Since he has been severely afflicted with the flying bug for quite some time, I think that possibly the hardest part about letting Chrissy go was the fact that he had to stay. Happily, he will begin flying lessons this fall, and his wife will return with stories from the sky to inspire them both.
I am fortunate indeed to have such wonderful souls in my life and I look forward to sharing this experience with my good friend and making memories we will never forget, nor will we want to….
Follow Summer on her blog Summersky 2011
Follow Summer’s cross-country flight on her Live Spot link Summer’s Spot