New Beginnings (Sequel Post #1)

Nov 15, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York, in Books
aerial view of Franconia Airport
Aerial view of Franconia Airport

The two thousand or so feet of dirt and bits of grass could hardly be called an airport, but 1B5--aka Franconia Airport--was just that. Only a few private single-engine planes called it home, but the glider school in the tiny building was the main attraction, and for me, it was my newest employer. I’d towed banners, but now I’d be towing gliders.  

It had been a long winter in Vermont, and soon after the breakup with Steve, I knew I needed to get away from seeing him at the airport. It was awkward when we crossed paths, and I think it showed to everyone at the office. Don tried to assign the flights so we wouldn't be there at the same time, but it wasn't always possible. Just the day before, I found myself pre-flighting my plane next to him doing the same. There was no animosity, and he still wanted to get back together, but it still felt wrong.

On one of those days in early spring, I sat at the pilots’ desk getting ready for a flight to Poughkeepsie, New York. Lyle came in from behind me and slid the latest Trade-A-Plane newspaper on top of my paperwork. He had opened it
 up to the Help Wanted page.


Needed For Summer:


Pilot with Commercial License,

minimum 1000 hours, to fly glider

tow plane at Franconia Airport, NH.

Call Joe S.


Whadda you think?” Lyle asked. He’d just come in from an instrument training flight in the rain with one of his students, and the water matted his hair down.

“Sounds interesting,” I replied, still looking at the ad, "but I'm trying to get out of here quickly so I won't have to talk to Steve. Can we talk after I get back?"

Lyle knew the situation. He also knew I wanted to leave Mountain Air because of itand he did, too. We’d become close friends during my time in Vermont, and he was my sounding board after Steve and I broke up. It was easy to be with Lyle, like a little brother.

“Joe said he also needs an instructor for his Cessna.”

“You already spoke with him?” I was surprised.

"Yeah, and he wants to talk to you about it! You’d be flying his Piper Pawnee to tow the gliders.


 The Pawnee was a low-wing, single-engine, single-seat airplane mainly used for crop dusting. Joe’s Pawnee had been converted to tow gliders up to altitude. 
Piper Pawnee crop duster in flight
Piper Pawnee PA25, Crop Duster in Flight

I had to admit I liked the idea. Glider towing was another type of flying I hadn’t done yet, and I was always up for learning a new aircraft.

“Okay.” I said as I stood up to go. “Suppose we do this—then we still have to find a place to live.”

“I already did!” He was excited to the point of squirming, following me out the door onto the ramp. "There’s a vacation condo resort there for winter skiers, and they’re practically giving summer rentals away.

By the end of the week, it was official. I would start towing gliders for Joe on June 1st, Lyle would be instructing, and we would share a two-bedroom condo in Franconia for the summer. It was time to move on.


Airplane towing glider in flight



  NEXT WEEK: Phone call from Ren Ouelette... "Come work for me again."