Yes, today I finally realized a childhood dream, thanks to Annie.
Last Christmas, much to my surprise, she gave me a gift certificate for a ride in an open cockpit biplane at The Flying Circus in Bealeton, VA. My dad had taken me there when I was a kid, and I loved seeing all the old planes flying and on the ground. And the thought of actually going up in one of those old biplanes just seemed too amazing for words.
Alas, it wasn't until many, many years later, today, that I got to do it, but better late than never, right? So today, after watching the air show there, I found myself climbing into a Stearman biplane, built by the folks at Boeing in the 1940s. It was amazing to sit there behind that engine, smelling the oil and feeling the wind of the propeller. And then to roll across the grass, and lift into the air! Whew! And it only got better from there... wheeling over the countryside, looking down through open sky at the earth below. I must have had the biggest grin on my face. And when the pilot pulled back on the stick, taking us into a nearly vertical climb... then kicked the rudder over into a stall turn... WOW! Amazing feeling! Near the end of the flight, we circled around a hot air balloon, then another stall turn right over the field, into a low-level pass of the grass runway in front of the crowd. Absolutely incredible!
Now... they have an "aerobatic ride" option that looks like a lot of fun... hmmmmmm...
* Title is from the poem "High Flight", which you can find here: http://www.skygod.com/quotes/highflight.html
Flying Circus can be found at: http://www.flyingcircusairshow.com/index.htm