Sunday, March 05, 2006

Be gentle, it's my first time...

I met a guy recently that has never been in an airplane of any type. He's also a devotee of the Wings Channel, and thus is well versed in some of the more arcane details of historical airplanes. That and his professed life-long interest in aviation was too much for me to bear: I simply had to offer him a ride. Today's weather was picture perfect for a first time flier. Clear blue skies, very little wind, and great visibility all combined to make today a "mandatory fly day," so having an excuse to burn another hours worth of 100LL was welcome.

We spent a few minutes on preflight and showing John how everything worked on the airplane, then climbed aborad. We lifted off just before 9:30. It was still a bit brisk, but the greenhouse canopy of the -6 used the sunlight to good effect and kept us nice and warm. It was still early enough for the usual wispy clouds down in the valleys of the hills of southeastern Ohio, and the morning sun rising in the East lit them intriguingly:

We were headed to John's hometown of Gallipolis, OH which is serviced by Gallia County Airport. This was my first time landing at Gallia County, but it's been on my list of places to visit for quite awhile due to its proximity to the Ohio River. I had thought it might be scenic down along the banks of the river and that since the restaurants were in easy walking distance of the airport, I could grab lunch as well.

This is off the left wing as we've crossed over the airport, heading south:

Here's the village from one of the surrounding hills:

John's son was waiting for us at the airport when we go there, and he had never been in an airplane either, so I made it a two-fer and gave him a ride too. I really love giving people their first-ever plane rides, mostly because I enjoy seeing the miracle of it all again through their eyes. I've been flying for a long, long time, and I sometimes forget how incredible it is to be able to fly just about any time I want to just about anywhere I want. I'm used to the way distances seem compressed when flying, and how even large cities look tiny in the scope of a horizon-to-horizon view from 5000'. I don't even notice it anymore when my ears pop on climbing and descent, or how bumpy it sometimes gets as we descend into the turbulent air as we approach the airport. It's always interesting and refreshing for me to see the awe and enthusiasm they have, and get a nice glow when I hear from their families that it took hours for them to lose the silly grin they came home with.


  1. Agreed! What a great feeling. I still have yet to lose my RV grin from last year. :^)

  2. Have you ever been involved with the EAA Young Eagles program? If not, be sure to check into it. I did over 50 first flights when I was actively flying.


  3. Gallipolis... I love that little airport. It's very familiar to me for several reasons. First, it's cool when you drive by there on the highway and the planes fly LOW over your car on short final. I designed the airport for FS4 back in the day... the whole Pt.Pleasant, Gallipolis, Ravenswood area with 3 airports, 3 bridges, and power plants, etc. I also flew in there with a guy who owned a Cessna and often flew up there to buy gas and get lunch on Sundays.