Three Engines, Three Generations

Three Engines, Three Generations

Dave Hirt, EAA 611961

It was a good sunny and warm day with extraordinary visibility, a great day to fly. It is always fun to fly the Ford when it comes to Port Clinton. I got my ticket from Mary, doing her usual duties whenever the Ford comes to town, and was set to get on board. Flying left seat, doing his usual duties whenever the venerable airliner comes to town was her husband, our own retired Northwest Airlines Capt. Tom Leahy, EAA 1181672. In the right seat was a Delta 737 pilot and soon to be Tri-Motor pilot getting some more time in and a few more landings in the Ford, necessary for qualification. However it wasn’t just another trainee — it was Tom’s daughter Ellen. With the windows open and her ponytail flying in the breeze, she and her dad were having a great time doing what they love the best. However, after starting the engines their relationship shifted to all-business, going over procedures, final instructions, and checking air traffic. What made the flight even more special was that riding in the first seat right behind Ellen was her grandma Ruth, Tom’s mother.

Ruth is getting up in years and doesn’t move as fast as she’d like to anymore, but she still managed to get herself “up the hill” all the way to the very front seat. Although this was not her first Tri-Motor ride, but it was her first with her son and granddaughter as pilot and copilot. The Ford, being loud as it always is, didn’t leave much room for verbal communication, but she managed several times to ask, “Who’s the boss?” and point to the flight deck. Words were unnecessary when I saw that she was beaming with pride when I’d point to Ellen and let her know that her granddaughter was in charge and flying the airplane.

Absolutely a great day in the air with three generations of the Leahy family. I am very delighted and pleased to have been aboard with the family on this very special flight. Thanks Tom, Mary, Ellen, and Ruth.

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