Sunday, June 21, 2009

Taking my sister up for her first flight

Plane: Cessna 150
Route: 40I-MGY-40I
Weather: Clear, 80 degrees, wind light and variable

My dad and sister came down to visit this weekend for Father's Day and to check out the new house. The three of us and Gina went to the Dayton Dragons (baseball) game last night for our annual Kodak Night there, and otherwise had a pretty relaxing weekend. I'd hoped to take my dad up today being the holiday and all, but he wasn't all that interested in going. Seems he had a bad experience with a bumpy flight in a small plane a long time ago. I'm certainly never going to pressure anyone to go flying so we'll see if he wants to go up again in the future. My sister, on the other hand, was quite gung-ho about getting airborne so we did just that this morning.

Hard at work preflighting my second-favorite 150

Quite the complicated mess of instruments, eh?

It's definitely felt like summer here these past few days so I suppose it was only fitting that today is the first official day of the season. Even at 9:00 in the morning the sun was beating down and it felt plenty muggy - one of those days you can't wait to get in the plane and turn the fan on. After adding a quart of oil and fueling her all the way up, I ran through my last checks and headed down the runway with a departure to the East.

Flying us over Caesar Creek Lake

We took somewhat of my standard sightseeing route, going out over the lake and up North towards where my old apartment was. I flew a circle around The Greene (a giant outdoor mall complex) and Lauren snapped some photos. She was having a good time enjoying all the scenery.

I've also got to note that she had a hell of a good eye for someone in their first trip in a small plane. Usually when I point things out in the distance (airports, water towers, etc.) to new passengers it takes a while for them to figure out how to judge distance and find them. But today Lauren was right there, seeing every airport I pointed out almost immediately. Must run in the family or something... ;-)

Hey there, it's Dayton!

Looking down on the water tower next to The Greene

You don't take photos like this if you hate the experience

I flew us over top of our house at about 3,000 feet - always got to be extra careful in staying clear of the traffic headed in and out of Wright Brothers. Come to find out when we got home that my dad was actually out in the back yard when we flew over. He said that he actually figured that was us when he saw me make the 360 before flying away. Pretty cool. Since the only way to get a close-up of the house is from the traffic pattern, I brought us down for a landing at Wright Brothers. Runway 2 was in use, so on takeoff we flew right over top of the casa at about 400 feet.

Waiting in line for takeoff at Wright Brothers

Between a somewhat small breakfast and the incredible climate control afforded to us by Cessna in the mighty 150, Lauren was starting to feel a tiny bit queasy. She said it wasn't too bad and I told her it's not unusual for your first flight in a small plane, plus it was getting slightly bumpy as the ground warmed beneath us. At this point I was already headed for the pattern at Stewart, so I just continued along. Someone was in the Champ and heading in the wrong direction (pseudo-right-traffic, if you will) so I steered clear and wide as they made a 180 on downwind. I definitely didn't have a clue that they were doing at that point. Once I could see they were turning base and planning on landing, I was extended so far on downwind that I just set up for a short field landing. Touchdown was smooth and it's always neat to come to a stop in a few hundred feet.

If you've read this blog enough, you know I always fly folks over this bridge...

Who says you can't have fun in a 150?

I'd definitely rate today as a successful first flight. The cramped confines of the 150 are enough to make most sane people a little unsettled, and Lauren still managed to have a ton of fun. I was equally warm and sticky by the time we hopped out and were walking across the grass, anyway. Chalk up another passenger for me and another wonderful day of summer flying at a grass strip.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.2 hours
Total Time: 108.6 hours


  1. Well she's got a big grin on her face so I think she had fun. If she agrees to go up again, you'll know for sure.

    One of the most enjoyable things for me as a pilot is taking people who haven't ridden in a small plane up for rides.

  2. Yeah she enjoyed it overall and seemed pretty excited about it still when I saw her over the Fourth.

    I completely agree - my favorite thing in flying is taking someone new up for the first time.