Time to fly
Years ago, I was a frequent flyer. My job as editor of a national newspaper that covered the for-hire trucking industry took me all over the country: Charleston, Boston, Atlanta, San Diego, Milwaukee, Louisville and many other cities. It seemed as if I was getting on a plane every other week. But that was all before Sept. 11, 2001.
Since that day, I've flown just one time -- to San Diego, four years ago Monday, for my older son's graduation from Marine Corps basic training. I don't remember it being a huge hassle, although having to remove my belt and shoes to get through security was a bit of a pain.
On Tuesday, I'll be making that trip again, for my youngest son's boot camp graduation. Actually, I'll be leaving Monday night to drive to Dallas for my flight.
I'm excited about the trip, looking forward to seeing my son for the first time in three months, and I'm not altogether heartbroken about having a few days off work. But I'm not exactly pumped up about the drive and the flight. Together, they should take a little more than 12 hours, and I'm sure I'll be exhausted when I finally get to my hotel.
Four years ago, I flew from the Little Rock airport, which was about 40 minutes from my home at the time. This time, the drive to Dallas will be a hard six hours, if not longer. I'm flying from DFW because the plane ticket was hundreds of dollars cheaper, so I can't complain too much. The flight to San Francisco will be about four hours, then another hour and a half on a connecting flight to San Diego. That's a long time to be in the air.
I actually enjoy flying. Taking off and landing, maybe not so much, but once we're in the air I'm content.
My first experience with flying came when I was in college. A buddy had gotten his pilot's license and offered to take three of us for a short flight in a small prop plane.
Once we got in the air, my buddy thought it would be great fun to turn the engine off in mid-flight. Apparently this is something pilots have to do in order to obtain their license, I suppose to demonstrate that they know what to do in case of an emergency. He was very calm; I was not. I won't repeat my exact instructions to him but the gist was, turn the engine back on and take me back to the airport. Immediately.
I survived that trip, and I'm confident I'll survive this one, too. As long as the pilot keeps the engine on.
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Scott Loftis is managing editor for Carroll County Newspapers. His email address is CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com.