Posts Tagged ‘Private jets’

Andrew, Me, and a Waco Biplane

May 8, 2012

That’s my step-grandson Andrew Champion standing with me in front of a classic Waco biplane right before we took off. The ride was a Christmas present for me and a 20th birthday present for  Andrew.  It was another example  of creative gifts provided by Ken and Katrina Champion, and my three other stepsons, Richard, Doug, and Mick.

Following pilot Bruce Dance’s instructions, I backed into the cockpit. After I finally got my long legs in, Andrew did the same thing to get his even longer legs in.

The big challenge of  the ride was Andrew and me shoehorning into the front cockpit which was quite roomy for one person, but a little  snug for two  adults. The pilot, Bruce Dance of Biplane Rides over Atlanta, who is also a flight instructor and crop duster, gave us specific instructions on how to back into the cockpit.  It wasn’t easy for an old arthritic guy like me and a young 6’4″ man like Andrew.  It was worth it, though. 

When one flies in an open cockpit biplane one really knows he is flying.  My stepson Richard, who is also a pilot, said that airline pilots fly biplanes when they want to fly for the  fun of it. 

The ride was a hoot.  We flew from Peachtree-Dekalb Airport, a general aviation facility that houses a lot of really expensive corporate jets, to  downtown Atlanta and back.  With the radial engine roaring right in front of us, and the wind blasting around us, we got super views of the downtown Atlanta area.  Bruce warned us to make sure we tightly held on to our camera straps.  “That wind will rip a camera right out of your hands,” he told us.  

Adding to the special experience was the 57th Fighter Group restaurant from where the biplanes operate.  It’s a World War II aviation themed eatery that’s a show in itself. Air Force memorabilia including pictures of WW II fighter pilots decorate it.  Even a trip to the “latrine” is entertaining.  There are sandbags along the walls of the hall leading to the restrooms.  Instead of background music being piped in, recorded speeches of Churchill and FDR were playing.  The background music in the rest of the restaurant was WW II era popular music.   There is a great view of the airport runways and the two biplanes stationed beside the restaurant, and the food is quite good.   

It was a fine family outing and I certainly recommend it for anyone  who loves  airplanes old and new. 

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