I cannot remember the first time I flew.
I'm told I actually first flew when I was still a bump in Mom's belly.
But my Dad was a pilot, and I can remember standing on our property watching in wonder as Dad flew by in one aircraft or another.
It was neat knowing my Old Man was at the controls. I was proud.
I have vivid memories of driving with my folks to (now closed) Sky Harbor airport in Indianapolis, leaving the car in the parking lot and going through the gate with the sign saying "Pilots and passengers only beyond this point."
What a great feeling...
Unlike the others sitting in that lot watching airplanes come and go,
I was "authorized"! Soon they'd be watching us!
When I was in my early teens my Dad bought an airplane similar to the one pictured above. It's a Piper "Super Cruiser".
Just a little bigger and more powerful than the "Cub", it would seat three...
Pilot in front, two (smallish) passengers in back. Many of my friends took their first airplane ride in that aircraft and talked fondly about it when Dad died.
It was also the first aircraft I actually flew. A set of controls in the back, Dad turned around and said "You wanta fly it?"
And so I did. I slipped and skidded. I couldn't maintain a set altitude.
But I noticed with amazement something everyone realizes when they first fly...
I could see for miles and miles and miles!
Small changes in ground elevation are flattened out at altitude, so it took a while to find familiar landmarks and know where I was above my old stompin' grounds.
Look at how close our home is to White River!
And look how the familiar creek winds its way to join it!
What a thrill.
That was over fifty years ago.
I didn't realize it at the time, but the seed was planted.
Thanks Mr. Piper.