Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Airborne Proposal

A momentous final approach to a new beginning

In my first year at University, I met the most beautiful girl I could dream of, both in personality and character. She was also elegant, refined and pretty, with a hardworking and determined nature. She was at University studying nursing. I had known Emmeline for many years through family connections, but it was at the study tables at University that we became better acquainted, and I learned of her desires of working in disaster relief and the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia where we both lived. This was an immediate talking point given my goal to work for the RFDS as a pilot.

A few months later, I asked her family and mine, and we began going out. The following months were the most enjoyable of my life. Emmeline constantly encourages me with my dreams in aviation and is always a ready help with my nursing studies. She couldn't be more supportive.

For a number of years, I had thought that if there ever was a beautiful way to propose to a girl, that the air would have to be the most perfect place to do it. Having completed my GFPT in mid-September and asked for the approval of both my family and Emmeline's, nothing stood in the way of the next step except a perfect day.

The week prior to the proposed day, I checked the weather constantly and briefed a team of close friends on their roles for the day. I would have them record the event from the inside and outside of the sterling Cessna 172M I had hired.

The day dawned clear and blue on October 2, 2011. It was the day of my dreams, and I was stressed. Although I find stress normally doesn't impact me, today I wanted to be absolutely perfect, and I was very anxious that everything turn out just right.

After taking the keys and book to the aircraft, I invited Emmeline to join me on the tarmac as we walked towards the plane. She was nervous as this was the first time she had ever been flying in a plane this small. Again, I was anxious that this be an experience she would never forget, all for the right reasons. A quick check of the windsock confirmed that weather was reasonable and conducive to smooth flying with only a mild crosswind.

After doing the walkaround and routine inspections, I invited Emmeline to board the aircraft by saying, "Emma, come fly with me," a famous title from one of Michael Bublé's musical hits. She willingly mounted the right seat as I helped her buckle in and secured the door.

After doing the same for myself, I checked the interior camera was mounted correctly and a quick visual check to my left confirmed that my "covert" cameramen were moving into position with their equipment: radio scanner, cameras and video recorders. Calling, "Clear prop," and starting the plane confirmed to me that one of the greatest and most anticipated events of my life had begun.

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