The voices crackled over the headset. First one, then another; a wide range of tail numbers and destination. There was a group of skydivers requesting access to the landing strip. There was the ground crew for our Cessna 182. There was the tower of Sugar Valley Airport.
I was just listening, of course, and communicating with the pilot. With Alethea’s birdcage veil and perfectly styled hair (the gals of Bella Upstyles did a fabulous job, as always!), she wasn’t wearing a headset, though, so she wasn’t listening to the banter.
The next voice crackling in came from the pilot’s seat.
“This is Cessna P2026 making an approach to Sugar Valley Airport. [crackle] About five miles to the [crackle] south. Coming in strong.”
“ P2026, this is the tower. Please maintain holding pattern. We aren’t quite ready for you.”
The pilot took a broad loop around the area, pointing out Interstate 40 below and the haybalers well into their workday on that crystal clear Saturday afternoon. It’s a good thing Alethea was too excited to be airsick, because we did some pretty extreme maneuvering (at least, it felt extreme to the poor photographer in the backseat, watching the horizon tilt one direction and then another).
He radioed in again.
“Cessna P2026 here. Approaching again from the south. Requesting approval for landing.”
‘Sugar Valley Airport here. You are cleared for landing, P2026.”
” Thanks, guys. P2026 will make a low pass first, then will come back in for the final landing.”
The pilot yelled it, so Alethea could her here above the hum of the prop: “We are going to make sure everyone knows you are on your way in!”
She smiled. Nothing unusual, of course. She’d been smiling almost nonstop all morning, and the grin was permanently affixed during this airplane ride. A ride to see her groom. Her flight as a bride.
The runway was lined with guests, waving excitedly, flashing their iPhones, pumping the air with their thumbs-up of excitement.
The pilot was ready for his landing. The radio crackled one final time.
“Cessna P606 approaching Sugar Valley Airport heading northbound, am I clear for landing?”
“Cessna P606, you are cleared for landing. Sugar Valley Airport welcomes THE BRIDE!!”