"While having breakfast solo at the Sedona airport, a man at the next table saw a Long-EZ take off and opened a conversation with me by saying, "That's the kind of plane you should fly. I'll never have a better opening. I said, "I do! And that's half my plane! And my husband's flying it!" I felt like bragging. I worked very hard to get to this place and I 'm basking in the glory . It was always my intention, and dream, to fly that beautifully sleek airplane half the restaurant watched take off that muggy Saturday morning in August - ever since I met Gordon Diehl a little over two years ago in San Diego.
I spent two years trudging toward my private. Getting the ticket was no breeze being no Amelia reincarnate. Four trips to the FAA examiner and an infamous old bird she is! Finally thoroughly checked out, I took a 2-1/2 week, 30 hours, solo cross country over to California, up to Ashland, Oregon and back in my Cessna 150 staying with such wonderful people as Bernadette and Don Shupe and Bonnie and Bruce Tifft. A week later I taxied our Long for a couple of hours until with great trepidation I took off solo ... and I took off ... and then I finally took off..... realizing I didn't have the canard high enough.
"Whoopee!!! I'm really up here! Now can I get back down?" The half hour was exhilarating and the visibility spectacular. "Boy this sure beats the back seat." I was astonished that I could have so recently enjoyed 30 hours at 80 kts in the now obsolete Cessna. Yes, I was spoiled already. My first attempt to land was too high. I can just hear Gordon saying, "I told you so". I actually hear him on the radio, "is the nose gear down?" I went around and then got a good glide slope on the VASI at about a 2 mile final, minor adjustments coming down, I flared and held it off until 82CD touched down like a dream.
"Hey you guys, piece of cake. Here I've had all you Eze pilots on a pedestal for two years and this is really EZE". For the next two days, I nagged at myself that it was beginner's luck. I braved it again with a lovely smooth take off and flew for an hour, climbing to 12,500, soaring down to pattern altitude, swooping 40 degree turns around the gorgeous red rocks while listening to classical music. I have never been so relaxed flying. I completed my finest flying hour with another effortless landing. So, go for it, Gals! Don't let the guys have all the fun!
Jeri Jene Diehl
Congratulations, Jeri , on joining the ranks of EZE pilots. (Editor)