There’s no doubt in my mind that I love flying— but it becomes even more special to me when I have the opportunity to take non aviators along on a trip.
This past Monday, I planned to do two flights: one 2 hour flight during the day of at least 100 nautical miles and one 2 hour flight at night of at least 100 nautical miles. Per our Training Course Outline, we have to complete these flights— but it doesn’t specify that the flights have to be done separately. With the approval of our chief flight instructor, I combined these two.
After planning, I decided that Kansas City would be a prime location— great food, easy airport access, and it fulfilled the above requirements. From our downtown airport in St. Louis to the downtown airport in Kansas city, it is approximately 210 miles. And although it would have been just as fun to go with my instructor, I invited my dear friend David to accompany me.
Now that I’m flying the Piper Arrow, which has four seats compared to the Diamond’s two, I am able to take passengers on non-solo flights (there are a certain number of flights that I must complete on my own). When I computed the weight and balance of the flight, it worked out that I could take our three bodies AND full fuel— the Arrow isn’t known for being particularly accommodating.
But I could feel it. The takeoff roll was exaggerated, the climb sluggish. Having flown this bird in the hot summer, it can be quite the dog.
St. Louis Approach cleared us through the Bravo airspace, and we climbed up to 6,500 feet four our cruise across the Show Me state. Fighting headwinds, we ended up taking a little more than two hours to descend into the Kansas City area— the winds were gusty, and there was a bit of turbulence on the way down. All in all, it was an uneventful flight; my instructor kept me busy, asking me questions about our position and why the airplane performed in the way it did.
When we took the courtesy car to the barbecue restaurant, it hit me. Not two hours ago, we were on the other side of the state. And here we were, just floating into another city grabbing dinner. The staff at Executive Beech, the FBO, were more than nice. This summer, I had the luxury of flying first class to Montana, and I thought that was the way to travel. But the real secret is to travel by private plane.
David and I brushed this off as if it weren’t a big deal— we expect to be picked up planeside by a golf cart.
After eating wonderful barbecue at Jack Stack, we headed back to the plane. Topped off with fuel, we departed runway 21, circling to the south of the tall buildings. The tailwinds promised to get us back in only an hour and a half. Flying at night is so smooth and calm with bursts of light emitting from small towns, strings of lights on the highways and interstates
David happened to be my first non-aviator passenger at Parks; I’ve flown a handful of people, including my mother, aunt, best friend, and mom’s best friend in various places. But this flight marked the first of many flights to come in which I can share and convey my passion of aviation.
Add your name the list of people who want to fly with me!