Saturday, February 16, 2008

A VeriEze Adventure

Branson & Hudson took their first flights in Dad's plane a couple of weeks ago... I hadn't been able to put my thoughts into words yet, it was such a sweet afternoon! The following is Dad's description of the event. Lots to look forward to at Bourland Field. Thanks, Dad!

The plane has been at Bear Creek Aviatory for about 24 hours now. Back-taxiing to the top of Runway 17, a little left rudder and the nose ezily nods and swings around to the south. Final checks complete and throttle up and the nose wheel marries to the flashing centerline. A little back stick and the nose is up and the tires spin free and the runway drops away. As we flit by, Daboo, Ton, Corb and crew wave from mid-field. At 160 mph a gentle pull has us lofting up left toward downwind. The pull is accompanied with a “YEEEHAAAWWW” from the back seat. Evidently Branson approves. This is his surprise first ride on birthday number 8. The climb is subdued to stay at pattern altitude. Turning down for the low approach sets us firmly in the seat. At mid field I point at the white blur on the right telling Bran to wave to everyone.

After the second gentle low pass Branson is offered a final landing… or a three minute trip to the north to see his soccer fields. On the way north along Hwy 377 we see miles of black pastures that we had seen burning on the news the day before. I point out a half-mile long train and over the hot-mike can hear Bran quietly mentally deciphering this new perspective. Passing over the lake and soccer fields, Bran remembers my flyovers as he played. You can hear the same ground-to-air mental connections sinking in. Bran is engaged and comfortable flying the airplane. It is a great flight for both of us. On touchdown he rewards me with a “Cool, man”.

After shutting down back at Bear Creek it takes several minutes for Branson’s feet to actually touch the ground. I can hear four year old Basden Joy correcting someone that she IS old enough to fly the airplane. Year-old Esther bounces hurriedly toward me, jostIing and evading. I am watching six-year old Hudson to gage his interest level. He finally quietly informs me that he wants to go. After approvals all around, he is strapped into the elevated rear cockpit and checks in over the intercom. He has a great view. He is feeling good during taxi and runup at the top of the runway. So off we go. During the same takeoff and climb I hear nothing over the hot-mike. Leveling on downwind I ask Hudson if he is OK. “Cappy, that is the coolest thing I have ever done. Can we do that again!” Guess he’s OK. During the low approaches I remember his firm full throttle control of the jet-skis, and the time on a river run where he threw me off. He particularly enjoys watching the ailerons and rudders do their things.

Another perfect first flight. After landing, being interviewed by the pressing media, asked if it was better than the jet-skis, after thinking a moment Hud responds, “the jet-skis are number two”.