25 April 2016

St. John´s River with Sherry and Joe Kittinger

On my short trip to Orlando, I had the best tour guides you can imagine - Sherry and Joe Kittinger invited me to an airboat trip along the St. John´s river, Florida´s longest river! It is always a joy for me to meet them. Joe hasn´t only helped Felix Baumgartner to beat his own record of the highest skydive jump ever, which Joe had already set in the 60ies - but Joe had also flown almost every wing that exists during his time at the airforce! 
Aerophile as I am, I keep bugging him about stories of his time as a pilot, and he patiently never gets tired to tell me more. And this time he didn´t only tell some stories - they got me speechless when they showed me an original F4 jet, actually one that Joe had flown himself! It´s set up in Joe´s memorial park. Sure it was for very serious reasons when Joe flew that jet, but I had to ask him what it was like to fly that wing. He smiled and said that it was one of the finest planes that he ever flew.
Of course Sherry and Joe know how curious I am about local wild life, so they thought it´s a good idea to take me out and see some alligators. And we saw plenty of those amazing creatures, any size! Our very knowledgeable guide Joe blasted with us to the top spots for seeing all different types of birds and gators. 
I had no idea that you can actually cross soil as well as water in such a boat, it was almost like a hovercraft. Really fun! The guys in Florida never get snow to skid and spin their cars around, so instead they do it in airboats on the water! Quite exciting with lots of hungry eyes sitting in the water expecting a snack ;)
I was also introduced to the original orange tree that was still one complete tree, before they had started grafting them. Thankfully Sherry and Joe warned me that it is a very sour and bitter orange. And so it was - but as I don´t like wasting food, I finished the whole sour orange, pulling funny faces much to the delight of Joe and Sherry. Oh Joe would get along very well with Bill Moyes, pulling jokes on "tourists" :) 
Hard to believe I had barely 24 hours in Orlando - it was filled with an amazing trip, great stories and the best company you can possibly ask for! If you want to know more about Joe´s life, I can recommend his autobiography to you: "Come up and get me" - he has an extraordinary humor, and if you like flying, well - to me Joe left an important footstep in aviation history, in a very modest way. 
I can´t wait to get back and meet these fantastic, lovely people again! Thanks heaps, Sherry and Joe, you really made my day!

13 April 2016

Support me at the Wings for Life World Run!

On May 8th, join the Wings for Life World Run and race to support a good cause: finding a cure for spinal cord injuries! Who of us hasn´t had a close call, some minor or major injuries, having seen "the dark side" of not having a fully functional body? Here you can donate and support all our friends who haven´t been able to recover yet!
You can run in many cities world wide, or you can selfie run if you can´t join an event, or you can donate to help - anything counts and will be highly appreciated!

03 April 2016

From Rio to Denver

After a week of flying in the heat of Rio, the cold rain in Frankfurt welcomed me home for a short stop. Right on the next day I left for a work flight to Denver, Colorado. High cloud base, strong wind and some last specs of snow greeted us on the high plains of Colorado. Except for the Rockies in the background, it kind of looked like Forbes, just maybe 30 C colder ;)
The city is mainly flat, perfect to go around on inline skates. Except for the wind - but that counts as training.
The constant smell of marihuana in the city irritated me - I learnt that for people over 21, in Colorado it´s legal to smoke it not just for medical reasons, but also recreationally.
After a short stop, it´s already time to pack my suitcase again and head home. Let´s see if spring has already arrived in Germany!