August 30, 2008
Friends Let Friends Fly
Do you remember the first time you flew an airplane? I remember it well. I have been an aviation enthusiast for as long as I can remember. But, it was not until high school that I had the opportunity to go flying in a Cessna. Unfortunately, I was one of two guests flying with the pilot and being the smallest of the guests I had to sit in the back of the plane. I remember feeling tortured getting to finally fly in a small plane but having to do it from the back seat.
Then, when I went to college, one of the first people I met, Chad, turned out to be a private pilot. We hit it off well and ended up being roommates for many years, business partners, and we also jumped out of a plane together (though not one we were flying luckily). To this day we are still best of friends, and It was Chad who gave me my first flight in the front of a Cessna. I remember enjoying the great aerial view of the college campus and the excitement of watching him fly the plane and was ecstatic when he let me fly the plane for a few minutes. This flight just continued to add fuel to the fire that would eventually energize me to "go for it" and earn my private pilots license.
Chad, like a large number of pilots nowadays, no longer actively flies. So this weekend when he and a few other friends decided to join me in Northern Wisconsin I made sure to find a way to fit aviation into the trip. On the day of his arrival I rented the Cessna 172 from Orion Flight Service in Sturgeon Bay for the short flight to Austin Straubel International Airport (KGRB) in Green Bay. I parked the plane at one of the two local FBOs then went into the main terminal to await his arrival. From there we loaded his bag into the back of the plane for the flight back to Sturgeon Bay.
For me this was a special flight. When I went on that first flight behind the yoke I still dreamed of learning to fly. It was fun to now be the pilot in command and be reminded again how lucky I am to have pursued this dream. I was sure to return the favor and let him fly the plane for a while as well. I noticed it took him about two seconds to take me up on the offer. I guess you can never really take the pilot out of someone.Posted by Todd McClamroch at August 30, 2008 8:28 AM