Rising from Viral Ashes
Flying|September 2020
First flights after quarantine are singularly rewarding.
DICK KARL

Call it renewal or redemption, but flying has taken on a more important, maybe even precious, role in life. COVID-19 made sure that flying for all of us was sharply diminished. As we started to come back, I found the cadences and clearances to be more like diamonds, each exquisite and pleasing in a lapidary way.

Quarantine wasn’t much effort for me, I’ve got to admit. Living in Florida, my wife and I were away from the accelerating deaths in New York and Boston. We had plenty of space, access to Instacart for groceries, bicycles to amuse us, and light weights to fool us into a sense of health.

Until then, our flying had been active, interesting and very occasionally challenging, but we were oblivious to the approaching storm housed in a tiny RNA virus. Our last Cessna Citation CJ1 flight was on March 8, from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to San Antonio to clear customs to Tampa, Florida (KTPA). Who could ask for a better trip?

Additionally, I had recently been blessed by some part-time work as a first officer on a CJ2+. The last flight for me on this lucky gig was March 18 from Hilton Head, South Carolina (KHXD), to my home, Tampa, of all places. Then the avalanche of dire news, predictions and stay-at-home instructions gave way to a slow understanding of what was at stake. Our own airplane lay fallow for six weeks until I just couldn’t stand it anymore and flew to Vero Beach, Florida (KVRB), to exercise the airplane and myself, and to buy some cheap jet-A. I wore a mask. My friend Rob came out to say hello, and the hardest part of the whole thing was not giving him a hug.

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