Note: this post is more about flying than selling a business.
I just arrived home from a short night flight across the California central valley into my home airport in the foothills. Routine, but wondrous and magic at the same time.
I met with a client who is selling his business with us. We met after hours so I could tour his plant without raising suspicion of his employees. I always enjoy getting behind the curtains and seeing how companies operate, and after the tour we talked for quite some time.
It was dark after the meeting ended and he was gracious enough to drive me back the airport where I had parked my single engine plane. I think he felt uncomfortable leaving me there at this dark, deserted little airport and offered to stick around, but I told him I would call if I needed help. I didn’t tell him, but I much prefer some time alone at the airport.
As he drives away I walk over to the plane, but don’t untie it. I open the door and sit quietly in the pilot’s seat for a few minutes, letting the thoughts of the meeting roll around in my head. I come to some conclusions and make some plans. I need to let these thoughts happen now; otherwise the thoughts will come during the flight when I need my head clear. The airport is very dark and even the runway lights are off. Car headlights suddenly appear and a security guard drives over to my plane to see why I’m sitting alone in the dark. I explain I’m OK, and it is indeed my plane I’m sitting in. This is a typical small airport in Northern California. I love them. Lodi, Modesto, Rio Vista, Jackson, Concord, Chico, Redding, Auburn, Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, etc. I keep a couple of folding chairs in the back of my plane and sometimes sit under the wing for a few moments at these airports before or after a meeting, but tonight I sit in the plane.
I get out of the plane, and start the process of checking it for flight. To me, the preflight is important not only for the plane, but during that time I focus on becoming a pilot. This is a time not to be distracted, and a time to let the familiar routines and procedures rule my thoughts.
I get in, finish some checks, turn on my red tail beacon, start the engine, and then snap on my position, landing and taxi lights. The airport has come alive a little. It isn’t quiet any longer, and my plane is now lit up with various and pulsing lights. The airport comes alive a little more when I click the radio transmit button five times in a row in order to turn on the taxi and runway lights.
I taxi to the runway, do my runup checks, turn on my strobe lights, align myself on the runway and push the throttle all the way forward. I always enjoy the intensity of this moment – there just are not many other times of the day when I must be completely and totally focused on the task at hand. My landing light lights up the white stripes on the runway as I accelerate, but once I lift off there is nothing for it to illuminate and there is nothing but blackness in front. I climb away and the lights of Sacramento appear in the distance.