When I (Donna) learned to fly at Raleigh-Durham Airport, NC, I had a bear of a time landing. It seems like magic or chance if the plane kissed instead of slammed into the ground. Finally my instructor gave me some more detailed instruction, "put the cowling on the horizon," or something to that effect. "What cowling?" I asked. She looked at me as if I had two heads. The fact became clear that I didn’t have two heads, what I had was a head set too low to see the cowling. My sitting height was too short to gauge where the cowling was in relation to anything, and thus to perceive the attitude of the plane. Attitude is a key to good landings. A few thick phone books later, and I was well on my way to professional quality landings. Or so I thought.
Shortly after getting my license, Mom and Dad came to visit. Of course I had to share my new-found thrill. We flew up to Henderson, NC and commenced to complete. Dad, the 727 pilot, did a pattern and landing, then I did one. Granted, he had far more time than he was accustomed to and could practice several flares and recoveries on the way down final, but he still bested me hands down on every landing. He hadn’t flown a little plane in 15 years but still had the hands of a pro.
So it was with many things, from guitar to friendship, Dad was a natural at countless things, though humble and gentle enough that one would never know it.