Although most people would probably be timid about flying a new airplane for the first time, Karoline was not in the slightest. She jumped in, threw on her new headset, and went for it. Being an ATC student, she obviously had no trouble with the radios. We took off in strong winds and she did great, despite a lack of currency. We flew north over Hyde Park, New York, home to the Culinary Institute of America and a Vanderbilt house. She pointed them out as we flew along. Then she turned south, admiring the view and commenting on what a great day it was to fly. When we arrived back at the airport, Karoline told me she wanted to do three touch and gos to get current, which she did with ease. When we pulled in to the ramp at Richmor Aviation, she kept talking about how easy the airplane was to fly.
After our focus on the glass panel and our work on the engine, paint, and interior, she seemed to hardly notice any of it. It was hard for me not to get busy teaching her all about the advanced avionics. But I wanted her to enjoy the moment, which clearly she did. I’m sure as the days go by and she comes down from cloud nine it will start to sink in that she has a special airplane.
Shutting down I knew it was all over. The 18 months of work for hundreds of people at AOPA, the shops, and the contributors had come to a close. It was a moment of transition. Karoline became a proud airplane owner, having woken up that day thinking she’d simply be taking the airlines home from Atlanta after the Women in Aviation Conference. And the rest of us made our way back to Frederick, happy for Karoline and her wonderful family. I’ll miss the airplane. It may not have been fast or flashy, but Karoline is thrilled to have it, and that makes all the work worth it. Congratulations Karoline.
Tags: Ian Twombly