Soaring above it all, and capturing visit in silver

?One of the great joys in the hobby is sharing it with others.

It’s all the better when such gifts are unexpected.

In April, a longtime friend came to Ohio so we could catch up. Because it was the first time we had seen each other since college graduation (a frightening distance in our past), I knew the trip had to be extra special. So, I called in a favor from a friend and fellow hobbyist who happens to be a pilot.

All three of us soared about the verdant landscape of Shelby County, Ohio, in a tiny plane that, to this untrained aviator, may as well have resembled the one used to spirit Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan on their fateful voyage.

Flying is no problem (crashing, on the other hand … ) but this was a new vantage point for me, literally and figuratively, never having had so little separating the sky from my seat.

We took off in misting winds, but the flight was uneventful, save for the train accident we witnessed below. I daresay that the experience was magical, and after that outing I better understood the allure of becoming a pilot.

Some weeks after my friend returned home to Montana, I decided that the flight should be commemorated. Not having the means to commission a new die, I chose the next best option, finding a silver bar to be engraved with a special legend.

SilverTowne of Winchester, Ind., which operates its own refinery and retail side of the business, offers an array of stock designs for round and rectangular 1-ounce silver pieces that accommodate engraving on one side. Since there were none with a generic flight motif, the American flag bar was chosen for the obverse.

On the reverse, the inscription MONTANA VISITS OHIO / APRIL 3, 2014 FLIGHT appears on two lines. Unfortunately, space did not allow me to designate the roles each of us played on the flight, with my college friend the “co-pilot” and myself acting as “photographer.”

The pieces arrived a few days after they were ordered. Both the pilot and co-pilot expressed gratitude for the surprise memento of our fantastic flight.

Only three examples of this very specific commemorative exist, but each will be cherished by its owner. As it turns out, it was another way to share a very small part of the hobby with friends.