Sunday, September 22, 2013

Up in the air with the in-laws

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: 40I-MGY-40I
Weather: Scattered clouds, 60 degrees, wind 010 degrees at 7 knots

Gina's parents came down to visit for the weekend and, ultimately, I ended up taking them flying for the first time. Well, I took Linda, my mother-in-law, up for the first time; I took Gerry, her other half, up in the Cub over four years ago. Plans changed numerous times this weekend (originally I was going to fly up to Michigan for a fly-in but the weather didn't cooperate, then we were going to fly to Urbana for a $100 breakfast) but in the end we squeezed in a nice sightseeing flight.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day to fly, with visibilities of 50+ miles

I drove down to Stewart, preflighted, added fuel to one tank to bring the plane to about 27 gallons (3 hours) total, and then flew over to Wright Brothers to pick them up. Linda had flown in some small planes before but never one as small as a 172. After figuring out the best way to climb aboard, we all got situated, buckled our belts, and I started the engine.

About to take the mother-in-law flying for the first time!

The winds were quite gusty as we waited in line for takeoff; you could feel it in the yoke, pushing against all the control surfaces. Looking at the weather reports after the fact it was very momentary. Regardless, I paid close attention to the windsock and the controls as we lined up on Runway 2. We were soon rolling and, once in the air and clear of the tree line, everything smoothed out.

I pointed out all the usual sites - downtown Dayton, WPAFB, Caesar Creek Lake, and other towns and cities below. The visibility was excellent and I was able to point out both the Cincinnati (35-40 miles away) and Columbus (55-60 miles!) skylines as we cruised at 3,000 feet. At one point, Linda took the controls and made a couple gentle turns. She quickly relinquished them back to me but she can still say she's flown an airplane now!

She briefly - and I mean briefly, for like 10 seconds - took the controls! :)

After passing over the lake and flying over King's Island (people always love seeing the amusement park from the air - they were no exception today) I flew north towards the airport. We circled over what first looked like an equestrian competition area but turned out to be a massive soccer complex. If at first you're not sure what something is, fly overhead to check it out! The joys of aviation, right?

We crossed midfield to enter the pattern and I made a low pass to check the winds before circling back around to land on Runway 8. I touched down softly in the light crosswind and we taxied back to the tiedown. Then we headed off to lunch with Gina, who was just finishing up her shift in the office at Stewart. Most importantly, both the in-laws really enjoyed the flight, which is what I always like to hear!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.5 hours
Total Time: 291.1 hours


  1. Excellent, Steve! My mother-in-law is deathly afraid of flying, so even though my father-in-law has flown with me a few times, she never has. It sounds like you had a great bonding opportunity there!

    (Sorry for the deleted comment. I could not bear to mar your wonderful blog with my bad grammar.)

    1. Heh, no worries. I can use my Blogger magic to make it disappear for good! :)

      It was a great flight. At this point, the only immediate relative I haven't taken flying is my own mom. She's flown in small planes before, just not with me. I've flown the in-laws, my dad, and sister. I suppose my grandma and brother-in-law should go on the to-fly list, too... if they're up for it!

  2. I never had the chance to fly with my parents. I'm positive my Mother would not even consider it; I think my Dad would have loved the opportunity. I was lucky enough to have Mary's Mom fly with us a few times, her Dad had no interest. As for the reaction from Mary's Mom, she thought it was boring. After I explained that in flying boring is good when you think of the alternatives. She gave it some thought then gave me a hug.

    1. Yeah it's interesting how differently some folks perceive it. I always wish I could've got my license back in high school. Then I would've had the opportunity to take my grandpa flying before he died. He always loved airplanes (pretty sure that's where I got the flying bug from) and I'll always wish I could've had him as a passenger.