Heros come in all shapes and sizes. This past weekend, I got a new one... completely by chance.
Husband and I were out exploring more Virginia airports (in pursuit of the "$10,000 leather jacket"), and we stopped for lunch at FCI- Chesterfield County Airport. While enjoying a great lunch buffet-- barbeque, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy-- a great combination of southern foods, we watched the comings and goings of the local aviation community. The restaurant is right in the FBO, so we were able to see the ramp and the runway from our table. We saw a flight instructor and his student land (it was a really bouncy landing!), and then we saw the flight instructor go back out with another student.
Then we saw an older woman walk briskly across the ramp to one of the planes (a high-wing Cessna tail-dragger), give a cursory look at the airplane, and hoist herself up into the plane. She got herself settled and waved to the line guy as he took away her chocks, and off she went, taxiing at a great clip across the ramp. A few minutes later, we saw her take off and climb up and away.
I've been pretty proud to say that I'm a pilot-- especially as there are not a lot of female pilots out of my flight school (a few, but not a lot). But seeing this older woman fly so confidently really got my attention. How long has she been flying? How awesome that she still seems to enjoy it so much. Ironically, later that day, Husband was perusing the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors site for some information, and found a picture of her! She apparently the Honorary Aviation Ambassador-- and has been flying for over 56 years. As Husband said when we watched her climb into her plane, if I think I sometimes get funny looks for being a female pilot, think what she must get! I just hope that I'm still flying with zest and enthusiasm when I'm her age.