Meredith and her Dad at the University of Illinois!
My father earned his pilot’s license right after graduating from college. He flew for a couple of years, even with my mom, but once my sisters and I were in the picture, his flying time gradually decreased. However, now that my sisters and I are all grown up and most of our college expenses and two weddings are behind him, he decided to start flying again. He was recertified last year and joined a great group of people at the Leading Edge Flying Club at Chicago Executive Airport (but my dad says he will always call it Palwaukee). Through the club he has made a number of friends—friends who often are willing to fly with him whenever possible. I have been lucky enough to fly with my dad several times, and have really come to enjoy it. Whether it’s a trip to visit the University of Iowa, have lunch with a family friend in Madison or just flying to Janesville to have my favorite biscuits and gravy, I really enjoy that time together in the air. Now that I am a student at the University of Illinois in Champaign, my dad has flown down a few times for football games and to visit. Most recently he offered to pick up my roommate and me in one of the club planes at the start of winter break. I knew that we wouldn’t all fit in the Archer that he normally flies, so it was pretty cool when he showed up in a Piper Dakota with another club member and flight instructor, Al Waterloo. It turns out that my dad is trying to get checked out in the Dakota and so he asked Al if they could use the flight to Champaign as a check-ride. Since Al loves to fly whenever he can and he graduated from the University of Illinois, which is also where he earned his pilot’s license, he was pretty excited to make the flight. Although I wasn’t sure if the plane would hold all of our stuff, it swallowed up everything and all of us just like a scheduled airliner (OK- a very small airliner). As soon as we took off from Champaign we were in the clouds so I got to see my dad get his first experience with flying in IMC. About halfway home my dad and Al figured out that we could get on top of the clouds so we climbed up and broke through into a beautiful sunny day! Flying on top of the clouds was an amazing experience and getting to share that with my roommate while my dad was flying was something I will never forget. I look forward to our trip back down to Champaign and many more trips in the future!
Watch our flight home here! : Champaign to Chicago!
P.S. We were not able to fly back down to Champaign yesterday (1/13/13) because of icing conditions in the clouds. I guess not even the Dakota and Mr. Waterloo are enough if Mother Nature isn’t cooperating.