We’d lucked out. It was a gorgeous winter afternoon in Sebring, Florida, a comic book periwinkle sky, just an insinuation of wind, and, I imagined, the kind of visibility from up higher that would allow one to make out Vero Beach on the Atlantic coast and then, upon turning, spy Sarasota on the Gulf Coast on the other side of the famously flat peninsula. It was, in short, the kind of day that comes around too seldom in Florida in January, so when it does, you just have to go flying. And that was the plan.
Across the field there was, indeed, plenty of flying going on, aircraft strutting around the pattern in the daily flybys at the Sport Aviation Expo: a yellow gyroplane zooming down and rising back up and coming around to do it again (and again); a white and red tube and rag big tire machine on short final threatening to go into a full hover; and a little composite nose gear LSA demonstrating to the onlookers the opposite—that is, just how fast it really is, the LSA regs be damned. Regardless of what’s in the air, the backing soundtrack at Sebring is the same, auto racing, the late-model sports cars rounding the track with their Doppler growls and whines, Porsches, Jaguars and the occasional Italian job, a Ferrari, maybe a Lambo, as they ricochet their laps around the world-famous Sebring International Raceway.