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Millennium Celebration
   by Terry Jantzi - tjantzi@netrover.com

My wife and I look down on the city, comfortable in our RV perch, 1500 feet above the glowing lights. The cabin heaters keep the winter chill at bay as soft music plays in our headsets. Then the fireworks start. The time is just before midnight as the 20th century is ending and a new millennium is dawning.

The flight is one year later than planned. Towards the end of 1999, I decided the best way to thumb my nose at the Y2K scare mongers was to be in the air as the clock struck midnight. I was confident that my Lycoming engine and the magnetos that fire it, would be unconcerned with any date rollover change. But circumstances conspired against me. On that last day of December 1999 I had scrambled to replace the front crankshaft seal and remount the prop. I fired up and taxied for fuel about 5:30 pm. Waterloo ground, in a chatty mood, asked what my plans were for the evening. When I responded, they informed me that the airport was Notam’d closed from 11:30 PM to 6:30 AM. The reason? The airport maintenance staff was concerned over backup power failures due to possible Y2K bugs in the equipment. After all, the power grid was going to fail at midnight, right? I saw it as a thinly disguised attempt at an overtime salary grab. So much for thumbing my nose. But the “real” end of the millennium is just one year away.

And that’s what found my wife Deb and I in the skies, as the year 2000 drew to a close. Deb has never flown at night before but the magic of smooth air, city lights and starry sky has mesmerized her as much as does me. The novelty of turning the runway lights on and off with the microphone transmit button almost impresses her more than the sights. Such power in a little click. But the real memory for us is the explosion of fireworks as the twin cities of Kitchener/Waterloo celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. From a vantage point not many people get, we watch the bomb bursts and colored streamers blossom below us. An inquiry with Toronto Center reveals that we are truly alone in the air over Ontario. Fifteen minutes later sees us safely back on the ground, with the distinction of being the last traffic out of CYKF in 2000, and the very first in 2001. And it’s only twenty minutes to home and that bottle of wine we left chilling on ice. Happy New Year.

Terry and Deb Jantzi
Kitchener Ontario, Canada