Sunday, July 25, 2010

Love and the airplane builder

All love starts in France. Or aboard the Ford TriMotor.

Just ask RV-7 builder and RV-4 owner Michael Regen of Maryland, who proposed to Karen Benitez a year ago on a flight aboard the Ford TriMotor at AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh. "As we took off and I was able to get out of my seat, and propose to Karen."

She said yes. "I was actually looking out the window when all of this was going on, because I was somewhat irritated with him before we got on the Ford Trimotor and it almost didn't happen. I was staring out the window, grumbling to myself. I turned around, and there he was."

The two actually met as kids, thanks to their parents. "Our parents were stationed together in France before we were born, and they always kept in touch," Karen says. "We always saw pictures and what everyone is doing. I come from a family of three girls and he comes from a family of three boys."

"We always used to fight over who got to sit next to Karen when we were kids," says Michael.

The two will be married in the North 40 on Tuesday under a tent put up by the Bonanza airplane group.

"It's vacation time. It's relaxed, and you can't be around a greater group of (mostly) guys," according to Karen, who had the idea of getting married at Oshkosh. She figured most of the couple's friends are in the area, although when we talked on Sunday, Michael was trying to find a workaround to a canceled Delta Airlines flight that was to bring two of his children to Oshkosh. They'll fly to Appleton instead.

"We've been sweating for the last few days because there was a chance the Bonanza people weren't going to be able to fly in," Michael said. "Fortunately, things worked out."

Regen built an RV-7 a few years ago but has sold it in favor of an RV-4. "They both have their little nuances, but I couldn't pick which one I like better. The 7A was a great airplane."

But he says his soon-to-be bride tops any plane. "Karen's wearing half an RV-7 on her finger," he said.

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