Thursday, September 23, 2004

Private Pilot

Dave Gets His Pilot Certificate

Dave returns from his checkride with
his pilot certificate.

It was a long, sometimes frustrating journey getting there, but finally on Sept 23, Dave passed his checkride and is now a licensed Private Pilot!

Achieving that goal means that Dave can now fly anywhere (except into clouds), day or night, and without ever having to get an instructor's permission! And more importantly, now he can take passengers!

With the boys champing at the bit, Dave plotted out a nice little one hour round trip over the city of Huntsville and down to Lake Guntersville.

Tucker was the first to go up, and thoughtfully provided a cooler with "in-flight snacks". He also brought along the camera so we could record the event. The weather was perfect and the scenery spectacular. Tuck even had the chance to take the controls for a bit over the Lake.

Tuck snapped this picture just after takeoff. The Space & Rocket Center is right of center, and downtown Huntsville is in the upper left corner. (click for full-sized image)

Tucker at the controls

Gerrit was the next to go up (the next day), and he manned the video camera. We called home as we passed the house so that the rest family could come out to watch us fly over.

Circling Lake Guntserville, looking down at the Guntersville Municipal airport (8A1).

After all of that, Karen decided it as her turn. The weather wasn't great, with lots of haze and clouds beginning to move in, but we finally decided to go anyway. It was a slightly bumpier ride than the boys had, but still plenty clear enough to see the sights. It was another fun flight, in what is sure to be a long string of fun trips through the wild blue yonder!

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Improbable Connections

Talk about your small world!!
How the demonstration of a new computer monitor at my job led to
an amazing connection with the governor's office in Kentucky!

As part of my job here at Lockheed in Huntsville I am currently working on a program to design an air defense command and control system for the UK. As a part of the program, we have a British army officer working with us on a day-to-day basis. In order to keep him from getting too homesick, we have all sorts of British stuff around the office,...a framed photo of the queen, lots of posters, and of course, the British flag. Just to keep things balanced, there's also a US flag, and somewhere along the way the guy who's our boss wrote to his governor to see if he could get a state flag. Well, he got one! And you know how things get started among office mates,...

That inspired another guy in the office, named Troy, to write to his governor for a flag. Troy wasn't so fortunate, however. Instead of getting a state flag he received a nice letter back saying they only did that for deployed military units. Left without a state flag, Troy framed the letter and proudly displayed it instead.

(click on the letter for a slightly better view)

Months later, during a demonstration of a new computer monitor that was positioned near Troy's cube, I happened to glance over at the letter and looked at it a little more carefully. I noticed that the state he had written to was Kentucky, and on further inspection, I was amazed to see that the letter had been signed by none other than Paul Gannoe, who just happens to be my cousin!

During Thanksgiving break last year, when we drove up to Kentucky to see my Grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle, I remember there being talk about Paul working on the campaign of some guy running for governor. I hadn't really kept track of how the election went, but judging form the letter, it must have gone quite well!

Well, I wrote to my Aunt Kathy about the amazing coincidence, and she forwarded the note to Paul. It seems that Paul even remembered Troy's letter and felt bad about not being able to send him a flag. Since that letter, Paul had received so many other requests from folks who didn't meet the official criteria for a flag that he acquired some others on his own. So not too long afterwards, Troy got his flag!

Below is a shot of his cube, now proudly displaying the colors of the great commonwealth of Kentucky! (And that's the letter, still framed, hanging just below the flag on the left)