Yes, Ma’am!

June 9, 2008 by Machteld A. Smith, Senior Editor

Wow, it was hot, sweltering hot. I think I’ve finally recovered.

Fly-In morning, 7 a.m., the staff van plunked me down at Hotel and Alpha intersection for a six-hour shift guiding aircraft, rolling out on Runway 23. It was not bad then…still cool…but it was lonely in the fog. I could hear other staff talking just a quarter mile away, but I couldn’t see them.

We waited for the fog to lift. Then, at the first engine drone everyone jumped to attention…incoming…get to your positions! The sun burned off the rest of the scattered muck, the tower got busy, so were we. And it got hotter by the minute. The staff van came by regularly to replenish us–lots of water, more sunscreen, and more water.

I got company in the form of two young female Civil Air Patrol cadets, who braved the heat in their uniforms. Top job! Very polite, too. “Ma’am, can we be excused for a moment to use the latrine?” “What? Oh, yes, of course,” I replied. “Thanks, Ma’am!” came the response.

It’s Monday morning, two days after the AOPA Fly-In. The grass parking area is empty, a couple of static display aircraft remain on the AOPA ramp. The tents are gone. From my office window I can see several large cooling fans awaiting pickup. Icons telling the tale of Saturday’s heat. Even now, the fan blades turn lazily when a light waft catches the right angle.

It’s still hot. Yes, Ma’am!

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