Airplane Ride Over Geist Makes Romantic Marriage Proposal
I know of one extraordinary guy, Josh Reckley, who will always be able to share his passionate story of how he proposed to his fiancé, Dana Courier, while piloting an airplane over Geist. Let’s just say his plane ride was anything but plain.
“Aviation has been a huge part of my life,” says Reckley, who grew up in Geist. He attended Amy Beverland Elementary, Belzer Middle, Lawrence Central High and finally, Indiana State University, where he studied Professional Aviation Technology.
He is extremely determined in every aspect of his life. Reckley received his first pilot license in approximately 35 days while attending high school. Then, beginning with his freshman year in college, he began working as a flight instructor. At 19 years of age, he was one of the youngest flight instructors ISU has ever hired.
In addition, he is one of the youngest pilots ever hired by Shuttle America. Upon graduation, Reckley already had logged 1,400 hours of flight experience. He served as a First Officer Pilot for two years, (SIC type rated in Embraer 170/175 aircraft, a 70-76 seat advanced regional jet airliner). Eventually, he switched to helicopters.
Josh is a commercial pilot for single and multi-engine airplanes, seaplanes and helicopters and is instrument rated for all. He has additional experience in tail wheel and high performance airplanes, turbine (jet) airplanes, glass cockpit aircraft (digital instrumentation) and aerobatics. He is a certified flight instructor for the following: airplane single engine land and sea, airplane multi-engine land, airplane and helicopter instrument. Can you believe he is only 23 years old.
Josh and Dana met through a mutual friend in high school who organized their blind date to the senior prom. Although Josh had originally planned to serve as a DJ at his grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary that night, he decided to go to the prom instead. After having dinner with two other prom couples, Josh still made a point to attend his grandparents’ wedding party, setting up the music, and introducing Dana to his entire extended family. Josh and Dana instantly connected and continued dating throughout their college years while Josh attended ISU in Terre Haute and Dana studied at IU Bloomington.
When asked why Josh would propose to Dana while flying, he responded, “I wanted to do something different, unique and with a surprise. I knew Dana had always enjoyed every chance of going up, so I wanted to incorporate the passion of mine and the joy of hers.”
Not only was “love in the air” but simmering suspense as well. Josh had strategically planned to fly the airplane over a banner with a message asking Dana to marry him. His parents helped him immensely; his dad bought four different colored king sized sheets at Goodwill, and his mom sewed them all together lengthwise. Josh spent a day spray painting the words: “Dana Marry Me” but ran out of room for the question mark. So he inserted an exclamation point, which he never intended to sound like a command.
Josh and Dana were preparing to leave for a cruise over spring break, so Josh had planned to go up in the plane with Dana a few days prior to leaving on their vacation. The weather, however, was not suitable for flying for the first two days so he began to worry that he would have to devise a new proposal plan.
Thankfully, on March 8th, the day before their vacation, the weather was decent so Josh asked Dana to fly with him. He asked her to take pictures of a school where his mother teaches that was being remodeled. Thus, she would hold the camera ready to capture an unforgettably romantic moment in their lives forever!
At the beginning of their flight, Josh gave Dana a poem that he had specially written for her, highlighting their past five years together. Near the bottom of the page was a torn off piece of paper. Dana was amused at the thought of Josh writing a sophisticated, loving poem only to “ruin the aesthetics by tearing a piece of paper to probably spit out his gum.” Then, Josh asked if she would mind flying over his parents’ home on Geist. There the banner lay waiting to be noticed, spread out in the driveway.
Circling over the banner several times, Josh repeatedly asked Dana what she saw, but she could not read the sign and thought it had something to do with advertising. Josh admits that the banner was difficult to read because the sun had cast a shadow on the center. Plus, one maroon colored sheet had the letters “D A N” painted on it and when viewing all the pieces of the banner (as a whole) from the air, appeared as, “DAN A MARRY ME!”
Finally, after Dana read the message successfully, Josh smiled proudly, reaching into his pocket to pull out a tiny box while still flying the plane. He opened up the box holding a beautiful diamond ring, stared at Dana, and said, “So will you?” Dana, still trying to process what just happened, exploded, “Of course I’ll marry you. I’ve wanted to marry you since the first time I met you. Oh my gosh…” He then handed Dana the torn piece of paper from the poem, asking her to marry him. They embraced in an awkward kiss, forgetting to move the headset microphone on the first attempt.
Dana is finishing up her accelerated BSN program at IUPUI’s School of Nursing. She will graduate in August, just in time for the wedding! Josh is currently working with Freedom Helicopters in Indianapolis. They offer flight instruction, aerial photography, sightseeing tours, aerial rides, aerial surveying and more. If you or anyone you know would like to utilize any of these services or perhaps make an engagement proposal from a helicopter (leaving the piloting up to Josh), call 317-432-4525.