Breakfast in Sanford

L-39 iYou never know what you are going to find when you take off for an innocent adventure on a Saturday morning.  My son bailed on our plans when he discovered an opportunity to pregame for his formal birthday party on Sunday with an informal gathering of birthday friends on Saturday.  Premonitions of “Get away from me, Dad, you’re bothering me…” likely to come in five or six years.  So I’m off on my own for breakfast at Sanford, Maine, with one additional stop so I can legally log it as a cross-country flight.  Low-level turbulence makes me look like a fool down low, but passing through a thousand feet the air smoothed out into a strong, steady stream of air.  After finding a heading that works, I can almost put my feet up on the panel and let the plane fly itself to breakfast.  At the restaurant, I’m offered pancakes with orange and cranberry.  And then I walk out to find this: An L-39 jet trainer designed in  Czechoslovakia in 1964 and produced through the 1990s, this one with a red Russian military star on the tail peeking out from behind a yellow-and-black paint scheme naming what appear to be corporate sponsors of the jet.   And most amusing was a to realize that sitting on the left of this military trainer from the Soviet era was a Cessna from the Civil Air Patrol.  Taxiing back to the runway, I passed a man working on the tube frame of what was likely to become a tube-and-fabric airplane.  Near a spot where I’d once before passed a large Grumman flying boat.  It was a good day.  A better day than one pilot was having as I landed at one of my stops: “Cessna 123, hold short, landing traffic.” “Okay, cleared to take off.”  “No, hold short, landing traffic.” “Cessna 123, line up and wait.”  “Okay, cleared to take off.” “No, line up and wait.”  It would be tempting to shake my head at that pilot, but I knew that a few hours later my son would be shaking his head at me.

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