Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gary and Rob flew out to visit!

It took three tries (thanks to less-than-cooperative summer weather) but I finally met fellow bloggers Gary and Rob this afternoon! We tried to schedule a visit in May and were rained out; we then had the same problem in June. The stars finally aligned and they flew out together from Wilmington, DE (ILG) early this morning in Gary's Sundowner and landed at Wright Brothers around noon.

Landing on Runway 20 at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport

I had booked them some time at Stewart so they got their gear out of the plane and then immediately hopped in my car and drove to Waynesville. The 85 hp Cub and the Stearman were each reserved with an instructor for 1.5 hours so they could both get in some fun flying. Gary hopped in the Stearman first with CFI Joe and Rob went up in the Cub with CFI Dave. You may recall that Dave was my primary instructor and I have flown with Joe quite a bit as well. They're both awesome pilots and I knew Gary and Rob would have a good time with them.

Gary and Joe taking off in the Stearman - note the big grin on Gary's face!

Dave must have been explaining something to Rob as they taxied to the runway

I don't think the grin left his face the entire time he was in that seat!

Joe brought the Stearman right down the runway for a low pass - I was recording it on video using Rob's camera so I didn't snap any photos. You'll just have to take my word that it looked like it was way too much fun. Gary was still grinning after the ride ended and said he had an absolute blast. After everyone was back on the ground, Dave and Rob switched airplanes and took the Stearman up for about 20 minutes. Clearly they couldn't let Gary and Joe get away with all the fun, as they also made a sweet low pass - this time I took photos, one of which is below.

Dave and Rob, ready to take the PT-17 flying

Grass strip, vintage biplane, low pass - what more could you want?

We all chatted for a few minutes after the flying had ended. Both of them said they had a great time and I'm happy I was able to introduce them to the world of fun flying at Stewart. I also chatted with Dave briefly as he wants me to go up with him as a safety pilot sometime soon - that should be fun and I'm looking forward to it.

Since they had a somewhat tight schedule, we left the airport and I drove them to our house to pick up Gina. All four of us were hungry and we had a nice lunch at Milano's, just down the street from both our house and Wright Brothers. Thanks again for lunch, Gary! We finished up our food and then hopped back in the car for the short drive to the airport.

We said our goodbyes and then Gary and Rob were able to depart from Wright Brothers and avoid the weather. It had started raining just as we left Stewart and the rain continued until shortly before we finished lunch. They launched and headed north to avoid the rain and made it home safely. Their timing was perfect - less than 20 minutes after they took off, it started pouring at our house (we live a mile from Wright Brothers).

I'm really glad we all finally met each other in person. Frequent readers know one of my favorite things about this blog is all the great people it has brought me into contact with. Being able to meet up with fellow pilot bloggers is always a treat and today was no exception. Now I just need to fly east and say hello to Rob and Gary in their neck of the woods!


  1. I had a BLAST!!!!!

    Thanks so much for setting up the rides at Stewart. What a nice bunch of folks, a real gem in our aviation world.

    It was good to finally meet up after all the failed attempts. The ride out and back provided good wx experience for Rob and I both. We watched that rain move in as we departed MGY. I was glad we got out when we did even though we had to dodge some wx coming home.

    You and Gina are gracious hosts, thanks so much for having us.

  2. Oh yeah....I still have that perm-grin stuck on my face. Mary said I should be dead tired but instead was rattling off the ride experience like a teenager on red bull...she begged me to go to sleep, I could tell her all about it in the morning.

  3. You're certainly welcome, Gary - and you're both welcome back any time!

    Glad to hear the weather worked out for you guys on the return leg. I was following the track on Flight Aware and it looked like a straight shot other than one small deviation near the OH/PA border.

    I can't believe I still haven't gone up in the Stearman myself. That's definitely something I need to do ASAP so I can form my own perma-grin. :)

  4. Thanks so much steve for the day. Flying was an experience we won't forget, but it was nice to have some time with you and Gina for a bite to eat before we had to fly east again. The XC flight was a good learning experience and if I ever head west again I'll be sure to stop in for a visit.

  5. It was the least I could've done for some fellow pilot friends! I have a feeling this is far from the last time we'll all meet, but I'm definitely glad we finally were able to meet for the first time.

  6. man, I'm jealous! I will definitely plan to make a trip up that way and do some flying with you sometime Steve! hope you've had a great summer man.

    safe skies,


  7. I was poking around on the internet looking for a place that gave dual in a Stearman. It looked like I was going to have to go to Maryland when all of a sudden... there was Stewart in the google results! I wasn't sure if it was still available, but I figured if it was you would surely have mentioned it by now.

    Voila! Here it is!

  8. VoilĂ  indeed! It's a great place and your RV's even designed for landing on the grass. :)

    I know our schedules haven't matched up yet but let me know if you want to come over for some Stearman time. I fully intend on meeting up and saying hello as soon as we can!