Thanks Be Given

I spent a bit of time today picking up new springs for the gear doors and pondering solutions. I didn’t get too far in that, and need to spends some more time with it. Despite being a pretty cold day, it was a nice day for flying. So Kevin and I took Bob’s beautiful RV out for a ride. We were about to RTB, when we heard Greg on the radio departing in his EZ. So of course, it was time to put the pre-brief to use and join up. We rendezvoused over Hastings, and got a few photos, and then it was time to land.

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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and there are so many things, and people, to be thankful for. I will share some of those people who I was reminded of today.

Thanks must be given to Bob for allowing me the privilege to exercise his bird until he can again! I am quite privileged to be able to scratch my ‘real flying’ itch with such a wonderful, capable airplane. And I also get some pretty cool views from on top.

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Thanks must also be given to Greg. Greg devotes a scheduled day a week to me and my Long Ez project. Greg built a Long Ez that has been flying for 20 years. I get a lot of energy from his involvement in the project and am glad to have someone who has ‘been there before’ to keep me on track.

Thirdly, thanks must be given to Dick Keyt. I spent a summer with Dick, not only learning a lot of different flying (RV transition and formation to name two), but also how to work on airplanes, weld, machine, fabricate, service, inspect, and maintain. Most importantly, from Dick, I developed confidence.

I didn’t have any workshop experience before my summer in Texas with Dick. I was fortunate to fix that and get a lot of practical instruction and experience. One of the biggest things I took away from working with him was that I can learn, even the skills that seemed so foreign to me. And sometimes he needed to learn things too. These were opportunities to Dick, and he approached them with a confidence that was inspiring and invariably successful. This gave me the confidence that ‘I can too.’

I bring Dick up because he taught me to weld. I didn’t get enough practice to master the skill, but he set the foundation. Today, while I was getting ready to take the RV out flying, I stupidly forgot to open one of the hangar door latches. After hitting the open button a loud bang, and the damage was done. After our flight, with my Texas-found confidence in hand, I removed the broken parts and brought them home. Some metal and joint preparation, and the welding commenced. (Repair is at the lower bend, where the metal looks shiny.)

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The welds were not as pretty as I would have liked, and required a bit of grinding and re-welding. But at the end of the day, I was able to repair the broken piece and reinstall it. It even worked. I would have been mortified to leave Bobs hangar in a worse state than what I found it. But with the skills and confidence I was given in Texas, I was able to fix my mistake and leave the hangar in at least as good a state as I found it. And all on short notice on Thanksgiving Eve. I did confess my sins to Bob. He seems none the worse for ware, and even was complimentary of my fix.

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I only mentioned three people tonight, but rest assured that there are many more that I am thankful for, and to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude. Have you thanked your mentors and friends lately?

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