Jim Matthews is retired following an 18-year-career as an American Airlines pilot, and working as a bush pilot in Alaska before that, but he still gets giddy over talk of airplanes.
Over coffee Monday at Mountain Aire Mercantile as we pondered the nice weather outside, he eagerly shares the huge collection of photography currently residing on his iPad.
This leads to a question: "how would you like to fly with me?"
Like I could say no.
For this week's 'cool find,' this 40-minute flight that I got to indulge in probably doesn't qualify as a typical find for everyone. Don't get me wrong: viewing the Plateau from 1,200 feet above the ground is in every way one can imagine, a very cool thing. Matthews guided his Cessna 180 north of town over the Green River, out west over Lake Tapps, south over South Prairie and Buckley and over the city of Enumclaw before circling back to his hangar just north of town during our flight. It was a beautifully clear day Monday with pristine views of not only Mount Rainier but the Olympics to the west and even Mount Baker up north.
Upon returning to the ground - and as I was working to regain my equilibrium (taking footage from a small plane does something to one's inner ear) - Matthews shared that he often takes folks up on the plane for a ride.
He's been blessed with a great and fulfilling life around his aviation career, he said, and it was his obligation to share a little bit of it with others. "It's a joyful thing," he said.
I present to you, Patch readers, my 'cool find' for the week: Mr. Jim Matthews.