Valentine's Post

The first year I owned my Warrior (December 2002-December 2003), I used it to get my night and instrument ratings, and to fly an abortive family trip to Sault Ste Marie. The second year I owned my Warrior, I decided to do something much more romantic, and used it to whisk my love off to New York City for her birthday in late May.

In a movie, the trip would have been a total surprise, with me taking off her blindfold at the airport, not telling her where we were flying, etc. In real life, that would have been a horrible idea, since she was still very nervous about flying. Instead, I introduced the idea a few of weeks before, and made sure she was comfortable and had time to prepare. My brother and sister-in-law very kindly took in the kids, who were too young to stay home on their own back then.

I’d flown into the NYC area only once before, landing in Caldwell, which is a long way from Manhattan; this time, I decided to try Republic, which is just as far the other direction, but would let us take the LIRR almost door-to-door from the airport to our Midtown hotel (hint to everyone: use Teterboro). We were MVFR to Massena to clear customs, then IFR for the rest of the trip: she experienced her first ILS approach in actual IMC without panicking, breaking out around 600 ft, and we had a wonderful romantic weekend in Manhattan. The trip back was all IFR but in the clear on top, with strong headwinds but smooth air, and she sat in the back reading and relaxed the whole long trip. We flew directly over a break in the clouds a few thousand feet over Manhattan, and could clearly see Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, etc.

After this, while it wasn’t always easy, the whole family was game to fly, and we had several years of amazing family trips to Toronto, Waterloo, Vermont, North Bay/Sault Ste. Marie, Cape Breton/Halifax, Gaspé, and (every March Break) NYC. We don’t all fly together much now, because my kids are getting older and have their own lives, but I’m hoping to squeeze in one or two more some day. In the meantime, I’m so grateful that we had those shared years with all four of us (and sometimes the dog) bouncing around in a little Cherokee, and it all started with a romantic trip to New York City.

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