The FENX 4.1 Returns (and the NBC Nightly News Saga)

Posted: October 9, 2009 in Uncategorized

The FENX has landed.   Last weekend Dad returned to Washington D. C. with the FENX 4.1 complete with a double locking modification to keep it safe.  Previously I hinted at a TV segment which is being filmed on the FENX 4.1, my Dad, and me.  It’s not a rumor, it’s true.  It’s a segment for the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.  So how did something like this happen?  Well, quite simply God had a hand in it.  Late one evening I was piloting the FENX 4.1 near the House Office Buildings on Independence Avenue in Washington, across from the Capitol building.  As I was cruising along, three folks were down the sidewalk from me with a video camera and began filming my approach.   I ignored them and began on my merry way, when a small voice in my mind suggested I stop and talk with them, find out who they are.  I did just that, not knowing what I was getting into.  I stopped to talk with these folks for about 15 minutes and answer all their questions, only to discover they are from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) .  Additionally, the camera woman informs me that her husband is a car and aircraft enthusiast and would be very interested in seeing the FENX and probably meeting me – and then she told me he was a producer for NBC Nightly News and the Today show; you can imagine my shock and disbelief.  She commented that he would probably be getting in touch with me sooner than later.  (For the record I didn’t believe her, I thought it was too crazy – even for me.)  On the way home that night I talked with my dad and told him what transpired, having commented on Eph 3:20 – “To Him who can do more than we can ask or imagine” but also quoting Han Solo – “I can imagine a lot”.

About a week later I received an e-mail from the NBC producer, in which he informed me of his interest and needing to talk with me at some point that day.  After consulting with Dad and getting his OK, not to mention his agreement to be interviewed for TV if need be – which happened – I called the producer to talk with him.  During the conversation he asked me EVERYTHING about the FENX, about the origins, about my challenges, the dynamic between my Dad and I, you name it.  The producer simply concluded – “you and your Dad have done something amazing and I have to tell this story on TV.  (As an aside, one of my friends here in DC who is also a TV producer has long told me my journey and the FENX would make for good TV, I never quite bought that line of thinking but I now stand corrected.)  The producer told me he needed to pitch the idea to some higher-ups and if they green lighted it, we would schedule filming and interviewing.

About a week and a half later I recieved word that the story had been greenlighted at NBC News and filming needed to be scheduled.  The producer and I agreed on the following Sunday, and I had no idea the adventure I was getting into.

The following Sunday I met the producer at my apartment complex for the filming.  It was explained to me that a mini-camera was going to be attached inside the cockpit of the FENX to film while I was driving – a Top Gun/Blue Angels sort of angle – to say this was cool is an understatement.  After getting some intro shots and setting up the interal camera and recording devices, the producer jumped in a car with the camera and filmed me driving all the way to Union Station.  It was tough to not glance at the camera out of the corner of my eye most of the time.  Once we finally reached Union Station we stopped to move the “cockpit cam” to another angle so the camera could actually see what I was seeing, instead of having it stare at me.   (Actually seeing the footage of these different angles was pretty awesome.)  Once all the filming  of the FENX was finished we headed over to the part between Union Station and the Senate side of the Capitol Complex to do the interview portion of the piece.  As we were setting up for the interview portion, a friend of mine whom I had not seen in a few months walks up to say hello and suddenly realizes that the camera is rolling and our conversation is being taped, as I am explaining to her what is actually going on.  After I had explained the situation with the FENX and NBC to her, she needed to get going and I needed to get back to the whole reason I was sitting there in the first place – the interview.

I got asked everything.  The FENX, what it’s like to live in DC and work in Congress with the physical challenges I have, the dynamics between me and my Dad, and interestingly enough, if mobility is my greatest challenge – which it isn’t.  It was just a fantastic time, and apparently I did well – or so I was told – we’ll see what the footage says.  Before the interview began, I also met a gentlemen who does marketing for Warner Brothers and Virgin Records – he wanted the FENX and I down in FL for a Labor Day Weekend party the record execs put on.  Apparently the FENX would make for a good marketing tool.

A few months  later the producer flew to Michigan to interview Dad, instead of having an affiliate crew do it.  I was pretty impressed at his willingness to go all that way to meet Dad; I mean I think he’s fantastic, but it’s always cooler when other people concur with my assessment.

That brings me to today – today, I finished filming with the NBC Crew.  They needed some shots of me driving by the capitol so they can work that in with Kelly O’ Donnel’s coverage of the story – she’s the Capitol Hill reporter for NBC.  It seems that a cameraman from another network started filming me as well, I wonder what might come fo that.

All in all it’s been a fantastic adventure, the folks at NBC have been great, and it’s something  I certianly would have never imagined – as I said, I can imagine a lot.  I learned a lot about the news business I never thought I would.  I am eager to see what sort of doors and adventures the Lord brings as a result of this – as His fingerprints have been all over it from the beginning.

Riding towards Eternity,


PS – Any questions and inquiries can be sent to


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