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Sunday, September 28, 2008

He's legal!

I'm happy to share that my pilot passed the last phase of the FAA required examinations to obtain his Powered Parachute Sport Pilot License Thursday, September 18, 2008 in Honey Brook, PA! His final practical exam and check flight are now behind him. He has his temp license in hand and he's legal! What a RELIEF!!!

This thing has been hanging over him for what seems like forever now. He'd done much of his studying for the practicals early last year, but things can be a little nuts around here, so... he had to put it off. He began studying again... and had to put it off. The man stays in perpetual motion, helping me with "my" stuff, helping my homebound mother, helping his mother that lives an hour from here, and although he's retired, as with many in law enforcement, when they end one career, they move onto another agency. The same is true of my pilot. He's part time, but quite often, he works full time and then some. Plus, he leads a monthly care group for our church. And, of course, he has this crazy hobby that he tries to squeeze in here and there... but, as much as he has on his plate, since Epilepsy hit me in January 2006 he's never made me feel as if my issues have ever held him back from doing anything he wanted to do. In fact, he has done a great job adjusting and trying to understand. Yet, still, it nagged at him that he was so far behind in the goal he set to get his license. And me, as I mentioned in another post here... I've felt guilty because I know things with me play huge role in our lives. Well, God knew how both of us felt, and had planned for it... just as He did when I found those pink Crocs on my last trip to PA and He spoke to my heart.

When we arrived at the FAA examiners house, my pilot mentioned that he was over a year behind in going through the licensing process. You know what, though? Immediately the examiner told him that he wasn't... that God was the one that had chosen the timing. That his appointment was that at very moment!

I can't tell you what that did for us. In an instant we were liberated from our self-induced pressure and guilt. The pressure from him. The guilt from me. It reminded us that God is in control of our lives and our circumstances. The Lord's timing is always perfect. It is always precise.

Now, as I mentioned in my earlier post, too -- there's a story about my pilot's check flight.

The winds were a wee bit too high for him to perform his check flight Thursday a.m. as scheduled. I'd listened to the wind all night and had checked Weather Underground's website, so it was no surprise to me. But, after he took the practical part of the exam, the FAA man gassed and loaded up one of his ppc-trainer aircraft and we headed to the little airport in Smoketown, PA about 25 minutes or so away. I was kind of aghast; even said something to the FAA man, but he said we'll see how it was at the airport. So, off to the airport we went. We were in our car and he was in his truck. All the way there my pilot and I talked about whether it was a good idea for him to fly or not. He'd pretty much decided if the FAA guy said he must, he would. But, he'd prefer to put it off until the winds were better. We were flexible. He was not going to blow it! Our plans were to stay in PA one way or another until he got his license. No bones about it. He was so close and there was no turning back. Absolutely none!

When we arrived at the airstrip, the flags and windsocks were flapping away. 3 mph is comfortable -- 5 okay, anything over can be bumpy and not so safe! And, over 8 you're an idiot -- it was gusting at 8! Fortunately, the FAA man left it up to my pilot to decide whether he wanted to go up or not. In order to make the type of "one shot at it" maneuvers required, and maintain altitude, he chose to try again in the evening. He did take a few moments to taxi around in the trainer ppc machine since it was a make he'd never flown before and the the throttle is much different than the one we own. I snapped a few shots. But, for some reason, just didn't get the warm and fuzzy feeling I usually get at small airports and airstrips.

We decided to meet again at 6:00 p.m. that evening. It was still on the gusty side, so instead of hauling our way back to the Smoketown airport, he wound up flying from a corn field on an Amish farm adjacent to the FAA examiner's property. To tell the truth, his landing wasn't pretty. He hit hard! But, he passed, thankfully! The scenery certainly made for a pretty canvas for his flight with the silos, cows and corn fields, and the sky. Both my niece and I snapped lots of photos. Before returning home, I never found the time to download hers to my flash drive, but here's a little slide show of a few of mine...

Oh! I tried the burst shot function on my camera in two critical places... well, critical to me, where I shouldn't have. It made me miss a few shots I usually take manually. I will not do that again!


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