Sunday, April 15, 2018

My Pilot Pen Pal

I have a young pen pal from San Jose named Shelby. She is in the process of earning her pilot's license, learning in a Citabria and, sometimes, in a Cessna.

Shelby first wrote me because she likes my books. Perhaps she got into my books because my protagonist, Detective Owen McKenna, is a pilot. And a couple of my books have scenes with flying.

I told her that I had done some flying (in a Piper Tomahawk) but that I hadn't gotten my pilot's license.

When I asked Shelby to keep me up to date on her pilot training, she started periodically sending me some flying pictures along with comments about her experience. From those comments, I realized that she is especially perceptive about flying and will be a very good pilot.

She wrote things like, "I think the 9091L (a model of Citabria airplane) is easier to handle on the ground, but the 1806G is a bit more firm in the air and listens a little better."

A BIT MORE FIRM IN THE AIR AND LISTENS A LITTLE BETTER...! Obviously, Shelby is a natural writer and has a very good "writer's ear."

Eventually, I met Shelby when she came to the Mountain View Art & Wine Festival last fall, where I was exhibiting my books.

Here's a pic she sent me a few days ago:

This is the view looking northwest out of Shelby's airplane window. She's flying over Mount Hamilton, where the Lick Observatory sits (beneath the plane). San Jose is in the center of the photo, the San Francisco Bay is in the distance to the right. And the ridge line to the left is the Santa Cruz Mountains, stretching up the peninsula toward San Francisco.

Does this look fun, or what?!

When I told Shelby that I was envious of her flying, she joked that maybe she'll take me up for a ride after she gets her license.

I'll be waiting.

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