But wait—Tom, a pilot friend from Tampa who admits to being an airplane nut, had already gotten space on his airline (he’s a captain at American Airlines) to fly to Oakland, California. He’d fly us home. We picked him up at the terminal and took off for Montana 30 minutes later. On the final leg home from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Tampa, we worked our way through a line of thunderstorms at Flight Level 390. As we inched toward the weather, I was grateful to have this Aerostar-owning, flown-everything, experienced pilot next to me. He didn’t tell me it was his birthday until after we landed.