Wednesday, August 20

The Windy City

Our guardian angel, Khyati Shah
We had been invited to Chicago by American Airlines to fly in formation with an AA 737 as the opening of the Air and Water Air Show. We were parked at an AA gate in order to have the plane open whenever possible to airline and airport employees for tours.
We arrived in Chicago Friday just  after noon August 15 and  were met by our host Chief Pilot Chip Long, along with Chief P.K. Raeder and Khyati Shah, a lovely young woman who was our companion and got us through all the security check points. Chip's wife Elizabeth was also at the airport a good portion of the weekend and took part in making us feel at home.  These three people were at our beck and call and really took good care of us.They gave up their weekend, postponed all other concerns and promoted our cause the whole time we were there. I cannot say enough about
ABC cameraman filming while in flight.
our red carpet treatment in Chicago.
 The American Airlines employees were very enthusiastic, as were all the others who came through. We were enchanted by a group of New Iberia Spanish flight attendants and their pilots.  Employees of American and other airlines, plus police, food service, bus drivers, TSA (and a bomb sniffing dog, Psycho) came through over the next three days. American conducted a lottery and awarded twenty lucky employees a ride Friday afternoon. The next morning we flew in tandem  with a 737 to open the Air and Water Show in Chicago and that afternoon did a membership ride for 14 new members. The weather did not cooperate on Sunday and we stayed on the ground. The air show for that day was canceled.
The local ABC affiliate in Chicago was with us all afternoon on Friday and aired a wonderful segment on the plane that evening and the next morning. They took the time to find and incorporate vintage footage and had a helicopter stationed above to catch our take off on the membership ride that afternoon.
Saturday night we went to an Italian restaurant named Zias that Jane had eaten at previously. The food was really good and they treated us to a dessert platter at the end that we enthusiastically passed around. YUM! Jane, David, Sheryl and Gene shared a cab and a really hair raising ride to and from the restaurant. 
 Chief Pilot Chip Long and wife Elizabeth
We had a couple of interesting incidents: Zane came to the merchandise table located in the terminal to buy a new shirt so as not to get the white one he was wearing dirty. He threw a twenty dollar bill on the table. Five people around the table saw the bill. At the time I was selling a shirt to a female American co-pilot whose husband was a DC-3 pilot. She said he would be so disappointed not to see the plane. I looked back to the table and the twenty was gone....just gone. We all looked for it high and low, no one else was near the table. It had just disappeared and was never found.
Meanwhile, Zane had changed shirts and left the white one folded in a chair behind the table, admonishing us not
Jim, Zane, Gene, Khyati Shah, Sheryl, David, and Chief P.K. Raeder
to sell his shirt. Late in the afternoon, David relieved me at the table so I could go out to the plane and, you guessed it. David sold Zane's shirt!! We all got a good laugh as Zane said it had an oil stain on the back.
Jane, Deanna and Evelyn flew out on Sunday. David flew out early Monday. That left five of us to head for Iowa City on Monday after a slight weather delay.

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