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I have been meaning to blog for a while but wasn’t sure what to write about. My life is anything but normal so it should be easy right? Here goes, I’ll start off with the basics. I’m an pilot wife- both airline and airshow. Which means I get it from all angles ,the good, bad, and the ugly.
Every so often I get the questions from both sides. The airline side usually consisting of how can you handle him being gone all the time? Where is he now? What are his cities? And my least favorite, when is he coming home. Sometimes I don’t have the answers. Truth is, sometimes I just don’t know where he is. I try to keep track of him on flight tracker or his FLICA * Electronic Scheduling system that shows their trips, but its just too much. Airshow questions are pretty short and to the point. It usually involves the doom and gloom question of aren’t you afraid he’s going to die? Umm I try not to think of it but the fear exists almost every SHOW!
I met my husband about 2 1/2 years ago , but it literally feels like we just met. We met at the Starbucks in O’Hare’s Terminal 3. I was working for a Regional airline as an auditor at time and he was flying for a Regional as well. Because I traveled a lot it made our courtship easy. I would meet him on his trips or he would try to meet me on mine. We would have dinner in Washington D.C or went hiking in North Carolina – it was pretty exciting . I always knew he was an airshow pilot, that’s really not something he wanted to hide. I really didn’t know what that meant until 5 months in.
Because we had so much in common on the airline said and I was still big into the dating scene I really didn’t mind the lifestyle. I knew he would be gone 4-5 days a week, that his schedule was ever changing, what an “overnight” consisted of. I had my own experiences with pilots and own perceptions so I was doing my thing traveling and he did his. We met sometime in-between. I knew the drill & I had my guard up, that was until I saw him fly his own plane- his Pitts S1SS , that’s when I fell in love! I saw how passionate he was about flying,how he interacted with the crowd and motivated everyone. I had never met someone like him! At that point there was no turning back, we pretty much got married after a years time. Like any woman who dates a pilot not all was peachy, his past haunted him and his reputation didn the same but we worked this pilot and other issues. All I cared about was the fact that I got my happily ever after.
So here I am pilot wife, post honeymoon phase.
Between his airline schedule during the winter season and airshow season in the summer the only evidence of him being around is his pile of clothes that I have yet to put away and a bunch of war bird planes hung throughout. I am proud of my dear husband but sometimes this life has it ups and downs.
Living with a pilot, an airshow pilot nonetheless, consists of having a strong mind ,spirit, and heart. The Airline part is pretty easy! Sure I miss him when he is gone on a 5 day trip, this is when shit usually hits the fan. The basement usually floods, the fridge breaks down or I fall down the stairs and hurt my tailbone.
The only hard part of the airline side is remembering to be independent while still being married. For some reason when he’s gone I forget that I am still a person. I get so lost in the idea of him being gone that I slowly get caught in this cycle of sadness. The day before a trip I usually try to get as much as I can out of him. Its not out of selfishness but its because I know I will not be able to do it all while he is gone. Day 1 I am usually in good spirits , the reality of him being gone sets in around day two that’s usually when the loneliness sets in, day three the depression , four is when I get pretty numb, and five is what I call frantic clean up mode. This is when I throw out any evidence of empty ice cream cartons or candy wrappers, put that laundry that’s been sitting for 5 days and clean every nook and cranny of the house. But the easy part, is knowing that he will always come home. Knowing that he will be home for two or if I am lucky four days to hold me or to have him sleep next to me .
Airshow pilot wife , now that’s the hardest role ever. Pre-season I try to support him every way I can. When he tries to give up a million times I find a million reasons why he shouldn’t quit. I am usually the one scouting for sponsors, seeing who has the safest products we can install in his plane like fire proof seats or flame resistant clothes. I try to find monetary support or who can help us continue to keep his dream afloat any way possible. I play the role of media & business manager sending countless amounts of emails just trying to get him as many shows possible. I am his operations manager and supportive wife year round.
Show time, now that’s the kicker. He usually is a nervous wreck and running around trying to do as much as he can while keeping calm. At this point I am his Grunt: i.e photographer, PR rep, go get person and cheerleader. I have to remind him to drink water, eat something light and to breathe! The last thing I want him to do on this day is worry. I think keeping busy also helps me stay calm. Just before he takes off he does his preflight and gives me a kiss .
The kiss is usually when that first question I get asked pops in my head ” Are you afraid ?” I turn off grunt mode and am back to wife mode. This is when I pray that he executes each and every maneuver, that the cieliengs remain high, that the announcer doesn’t mess his name up, that the music doesn’t get stuck, that his engine doesn’t fail , that he he isn’t left holding for a long time, that his oil line doesn’t leak, that his smoke oil works, does he have enough fuel, and I pray that absolutely nothing goes wrong. I hold my breath and hold onto my heart until he lands and taxis his way back to me. I wait for my second kiss, that is the one that means so much more. That is just a glimpse into what I am thinking. So why do I do it? Why don’t I ask him to quit? Because when he lands, I see the kids lined up waiting to get an autograph.
So here is my blog, I hope you enjoyed and I did a decent job. I hope to continue sharing my airline and airshow life experiences as much as possible.