Pipeline-patrol pilot Corey Hines, who flies out of Beaumont, Texas, sure got it right. He took off one evening for a flight with a girlfriend; and landed with a fiancé. The accompanying picture of his proposal written in sand along the beach should explain. He said: “Jolyn thought we were just flying down to Galveston for dinner. I don’t think it registered until I pulled out the ring. She was very surprised and said, ‘YES!!'”
Many pilots, however, don’t seem to put their flying in the right perspective when it comes to the mating ritual. Years ago when I was a single guy working at Daniel Webster College, I asked chief instructor pilot (and campus bon vivant) Steve Rachelson how best to leverage the allure of my wings for dating purposes. I was crestfallen when he responded flatly: “Don’t. You’re better off telling them you sell shoes.”
Turns out he was right. Unless you’re Tom Cruise (who doesn’t need the help), it’s probably wiser to downplay your flying affliction, at best. Or even keep it to yourself entirely until the third or fourth date. Why? Unless your intended is also a pilot type, the endless use of flat-palm-flying and obscure acronyms is hardly the sweet nothings you need to move the romance along. “There I was, in a PA-24-250 just outside the FAF on the ILS to PDK in solid IMC. I mean, there were monster TSTMs popping all over the MFD!”
My wife does fondly recall our first flight together many years ago, and still tells new friends about two things she remembers in particular. First; she was a bit concerned when I pulled out “the directions” (checklist) before starting the engine. But also, she remembers her first time enjoying the sunset from a few thousand feet; and remarking how pretty it was. My response was, “Wanna see it again?” and I climbed a few thousand feet for an instant replay. One more time, and she got three sunsets in one flight. Must’ve worked.
The best advice seems to be to stick to Hines’s profile. Though I have no doubt he’s selling himself a little short, he said it best: “If you’re going to try to marry outside your league, you gotta go big on the proposal and hope for the best. Luckily for me, it couldn’t have gone any better.”
To Corey and Jolyn, all the best.
Call to action: If you have any tips of your own you’d like to share, or have any questions about flying technique you’d like answered, send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.