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Leaving On a Jet Plane

At 85 there are just some things you want to do before you just cannot do them. A case in point was to go to La Verne to see a new great granddaughter. We had seen her just prior to the Covid lockdown, but that was almost a year and a half ago. My two adult daughters had never seen their new great niece. So, one day I checked to see if everyone was agreeable to fly down in a small jet to see her. The entire family had taken the covid injections and we all had face coverings. The hard part was selecting a Sunday when everyone was available. Then I had to confer with my granddaughter to make arrangements with her that would include meeting at a place where we could have some space to enjoy a one-and-a-half-year-old. We agreed to meet at a park in La Verne not far from her house. Conveniently, the park was only about a mile from the airport. The airport was formerly a military strip called Brackett Field. It was about the same size as the Sonoma County airport here in Santa Rosa. 

After much discussion I was able to get everyone to agree to a specific Sunday for the trip. I strolled out to the airport and next to the car rental counters is Sonoma Jet Center. The office is customer friendly and well-staffed by very nice personnel. I just strolled up to the counter and stated I wanted to rent a jet for a few hours. One of the staff asked a few questions relating to the departure date and return time. About this time the owner of the Sonoma Jet Center entered the conversation and asked if I would like to see an identical jet that I could rent. We took a cart over to a hanger. Mysteriously, a set of doors opened up and there was a single Politas jet aircraft. He opened up the door so I could see the 6 seats inside. Lots of room to move around. 

So back at the office I said yes, sign me up for a specific Sunday at 10 am. They printed out an itinerary with the cost, and I said we will see you in a couple of weeks. I was amazed. No down payment, no personal information, nothing. Renting a car takes a least 30 minutes. Renting a jet was a breeze. All they knew was my name.

On the selected Sunday we arrived at ten am and were met by the pilot, Mat, (one t) who wore no uniform, just a polo shirt and dockers. He escorted us to the waiting plane and after a short safety talk, we all secured our seat belts and away we went. One hour and thirty-five minutes later we landed at Brackett air field in La Verne, Los Angeles County.

We took an Uber to the city park where our granddaughter, her husband, and our great-granddaughter were waiting for us. We refrained from social distancing and gave a lot of hugs all around, but no kissing. We had ordered some sandwiches and drinks, and had one of the greatest afternoons with our granddaughter’s family. Around 2:30 I started to suggest it was time for last hugs, something like bartenders do at a few minutes prior to closing. So, we relied on Uber again to take us all back to the airplane. Pilot Mat was right there on the tarmac with the stairs down, and soon we were up, up and away. Again after one hour and thirty five minutes we landed back at Sonoma County Airport. The time was five pm. We had done all of this in seven hours. We said good bye to Mat and strolled back through the Jet center and then home. 

I had to call the Jet Center several times for them to send me a bill. Maybe sometime I could treat the girls for another visit to see their great niece. Not to mention Shirley and me.

3 Comments

  1. Mike G May 28, 2021

    And, there you have in a nutshell-the glorious nature of General Aviation: when you want, where you want! NO TSA, no patdowns!! And it helps to work with a friendly, service oriented FBO like Sonoma Jet Center. Just do it!

  2. Angie June 2, 2021

    Great read Bob! It was my pleasure to assist you on this trip. I have also shared your specific story with others when explaining how traveling has impacted our business especially with new customers who have not thought of using private travel to connect with others safely with their family during this pandemic. Hope to work with you again in the future.

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