Something for birds and boys, right? That’s what my parents’ world had me think. (Daddy was the flyer…. We were nee the Army Air Corps, then the US Air Force.) I believed that – until one day, way into my own grown-up life, somebody said “Naw, we don’t do gliders. But – you have your power license?” (What??? Women fly?…Holy cow. Women fly!!)
I had been intently searching the yellow pages, fruitlessly phoning around for a glider ride in the middle of a deep Massachusetts winter. I’d been to Aspen to ski, and my hustling ski instructor had promoted a Sunday glider ride – he was selling them, also being a glider instructor. I had been quite fired up for that – soaring over the Rockies! Sunday brought a perfectly crystal clear day, but Saturday night at Rocky Mountain altitudes the thermometer had bottomed out at -40F below zero… And at 10 in the morning temps had only risen to -20 in dazzling crystal clear air. We were miserably frozen out of our rendezvous with soaring. Couldn’t chip or chisel out the glider, couldn’t start the tow plane. My disappointment was stupidly huge – and that surprised me.
So back at home in my warm living room, I was intently on a quest. I glanced behind me to see if this voice at the other end was actually talking to me, the question was so unexpected… What on earth? A power license? What, like an airplane? Me, fly??? What an epiphany. A revelation. The world was not at all as I had believed. As this flight school rep on the other end of the line was saying I should “Come on down, have an introductory lesson!” I knew that I was going to fly.
It was during the heyday of VA benefits, and many returning soldiers were using theirs to learn to fly… I had to wait for two long weeks for my first lesson. By the time I was actually rolling down a runway and lifting off, I was rampode to get airborne.
I hoped the wait had been worth it.