We’ve always been drawn to people driven by a singular, all-consuming passion. For us, that passion is building timeless, quality clothing. For friend of the brand Dita Unter Ecker, it’s aviation. Dita has spent the last five years as a professional pilot, and today shares her obsession with others as a flight instructor.
On this particular Sunday morning, we decided to meet up at the Van Nuys airport where she teaches and keeps her pride and joy, a beautiful 1963 Mooney prop plane she affectionately calls Atoma. Famously speedy and difficult to handle, Mooneys are known as “the Porsches of the skies,” and just like a well kept 911, they make a strong case for the classics. We could’ve gone home happy right then and there, but Dita invited us up for a flight. Our destination: El Mirage.
As you’d expect, earning a pilot’s license requires tremendous dedication and discipline, but it wasn’t until we were thousands of feet up in the air that we truly began to appreciate our friend’s passion and expertise. Everything Dita did — eyeing her instruments, radioing ATC, and even calmly navigating the turbulence over the San Gabriel Mountains — was totally effortless, like she was born to do it.
Before we knew it, we were approaching El Mirage, a dried up lake bed in the Mojave Desert that has long served as a secluded haven for auto enthusiasts. With motorcycles and dune buggies peppering the landscape and no runway in sight, we started our descent. Without so much as blinking, Dita landed her tiny prop plane right there in the dirt. No small feat, even for a seasoned pilot, but she made it look easy.
Once the sun started setting, we climbed back into the cockpit and took off towards LA with a new appreciation for the passion that drives our friend Dita. We were also grateful for a day of adventure and a chance to see our clothes in action — especially worn by a woman we admire. Until next time, El Mirage.