Last night, a certain 9 year old boy's father looked at me, thoughtfully, and asked, "You know, a passenger doesn't really need to talk in order to fly. And if they're just being a passenger, I bet we could put a pair of shooting muffs on him, and it'd be good enough to protect his hearing. He wouldn't have to wait until we got a second headset for the plane, would we?"
And I thought about it, and nodded. "Sure. We wouldn't communicate well, but it wouldn't keep him from flying. We could do that."
The gentleman paused, and slowly asked, in an all-too-casual manner, "Then maybe you could go flying this weekend?"
"I think we can." I said, with a slow smile starting at my eyes and working its way down.
He glanced down by his knee, and said, "Oh, don't show that to me. Show that to her." And the 9-year-old spun around and displayed a grin so big I could count every back molar.
This morning somebody threw off their covers at the first gentle "Hey, rise and shine." He'd put his clothes on the night before so he could be ready, and hurriedly rushed through brushing his teeth and gulping down a bowl of cereal. A thunderstorm was passing overhead, but we left it behind as we drove to the airport, where weather was reported fair. Unfortunately, the storm was moving toward the airport, and it was a nasty cluster of cells. By the time it would be past, somebody would be very late to their test at the dojo.
So instead of flying, we walked around the plane, comparing everything to the model airplanes he's flown with his father, and he made like a monkey climbing inside the cockpit to work the yoke and rudders, and go over the instruments. As the rain started to fall, we headed back to the FBO, and with permission wandered around the attached community hangar.
I didn't know there was a post-war Focke-Wulfe in there, in camo and iron crosses. Somebody headed straight for it like a moth to a flame, only slightly diverted by the Citabria. We spent a good twenty minutes examining aircraft, and then I showed my evil side by shamelessly buying a coke for each of us, and splitting a couple brownies. (Fortunately, the aforementioned dojo will be a great place to work out the sugar high.) After some more chatting on everything from thermals to deer hunting to rainbow-farting unicorns (he is a 9-year-old boy, with 9 year old humor), we headed home.
Despite not flying, he had a grin and bounce to his step as he headed inside to eagerly tell a sleepy father all about the airport, and sitting in his first full-scale airplane. Then it was back to plotting with his sister on how to get past the mountain lion on the Cabela's hunting game (which is nothing at all like doves or real deer, I'm thoroughly informed).
I'll get him in the air yet, and I'm glad he had a great Saturday morning.