Spotlight on Luke Flywalker
The Relay Refresh RoadTrip rolled into Columbus, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis, home of Cummins Engines, to visit with Luke Flywalker who quickly made us laugh by joking that “people who live in Columbus are mostly Kentuckians who ran out of gas on their way to Chicago”.
Luke told us that he retired from Cummins and is now teaching robotics and electronics at a local career center with students who come from eleven different high schools. A self proclaimed geek, his first job was at age 15 in a local hobby shop selling slot cars.
He has been in Second Life almost 10 years and traverses the grid with an ASUS gaming desktop computer that has an NVIDEA 970 graphics card. Luke has “never been much of a laptop guy” and carries a Samsung 8 cell phone that he uses to keep in touch with his three sons and ten grandkids who all live nearby.
An avid online gamer, Luke found out about Second Life from online friends who described it as a “place you can go build stuff, get jobs and make real money”. He met his first friend, Quick Skytower from Liverpool, England, when he found his helicopter “stuck on his parcel”. They became “helicopter buddies” and voiced regularly inworld. Luke laughed as he recalled his new buddy telling him he sounded like “Larry the Cable Guy’s well-to-do brother”.
Luke has 91,963 items in his inventory, many of which are aviation related which is his passion in Second Life. He told us as a noob he purchased some parcels, opened his first airport and built a space station with a club inside at 4000 meters. When asked about a funny noob story, he told us that while “clicking on a piece of candy” at his club, he “deleted the entire space station” sending “about 20 avatars” crashing to the ground.
When the discussion turned to music, Luke’s responses quickly identified his generation. His favorite groups include Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Beatles. His favorite songs include Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride, AC/DC - Thunderstruck and Cake - Short Skirt Long Jacket. To say the man is a rocker would be an understatement and that is quite obvious listening to his inworld DJ sets, one of which we had the pleasure of attending that benefited our vets.
His favorite TV shows include things as varied as The Andy Griffith Show to The Closer. He told us that “good clean humor” makes him laugh. Things like W.C. Fields, The Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers and Steve Martin are all comedians he enjoys. When asked about his hero, he quickly said US Army General George Patton. A history buff, he said Patton “was not afraid to do what he needed to get done, even if it got him in trouble”.
While not a pilot in real life, he has a passion for all things aviation in his Second Life. He has owned and operated airports, has built control towers and terminals and owns numerous aviation vehicles. And it was out of this passion that 4 years ago he joined the Fly For Life Relay Team. In his very first year the founder of their team became ill and Luke stepped up with three others to help lead the team. Stephanie Azalea was one of those who stepped up and soon became the Captain. Luke complimented her as a talented graphic artist from Japan (SLT +17). Their team’s signature event is Fly For Life Airlines, where they take residents on scenic flights across the grid in their custom twin prop airplane. We were impressed when Luke showed us the plane with its amazing graphics by Stephanie. As he gassed up at the fuel station, taxied to the runway and throttled up for take off, we just sat back and enjoyed the view.
Watch us taxi on Fly For Life Airlines > https://gyazo.com/464f46fc644fb19535bdddc64145c047
The team’s other fun Relay event is the reenactment of the Lawnchair Larry Balloon Flight. Larry was an American truck driver who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship which consisted of an ordinary lawn chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons. Another creative way to have fun and raise money for Relay For Life.
Luke shared with us that he Relays for several friends he has lost over the years. When asked about his favorite Relay story, he recalled interviewing past Relay Chair Random Darrow on his radio station, SL Aviation Network. The interview took place during a flight and they “lost the plane at a sim crossing but had their flotation devices on so they floated down and continued the interview”.
Luke told us he loves Relaystock, where they set up a sim like Woodstock for a weekend full of music by DJ’s and live performers. He also loves Relay weekend and hearing all the stories. He particularly likes honoring survivors and caregivers and enjoys the passion and stories behind every single build.
Luke impressed us as a quiet, gentle soul who is passionate about Relay For Life in Second Life. His passion shows in everything he does for Relay and nothing is more evident than his production of the amazing RFL 2017 flyover video taken during Relay weekend.
Relay Weekend 2017 Track Fly Over > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmEJJBmg1OE
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