Logbook Stories

from my "Standard Pilot Master Log"


How and Where It All Started

Summer of 1960's-something???

But exactly when is just guessing. There's no image of a logbook flight time entry for this story, because I was a passenger, not the pilot. I don't know who the pilot was. Just a guy giving airplane rides. So the flight story date is question marks because I'm not sure of when this flight took place. I was just a lad ... I think I was around ten to twelve years old. The place was the Sioux Falls airport, and that's the only sure fact I can remember. Dad took us there for an "airplane ride". Mom (ever the cautious one, and maybe there was also a baby on the way at the time) stayed on the ground. I got to sit in the right front seat. My little sister and Dad sat in the back. I'm pretty sure the airplane was a Cessna 170, similar to the one pictured below.

I blame this occasion for stirring a desire to fly. This experience was just pure magic. It wasn't just the fascinating guages and dials on the instrument panel, though they were. But roaring down the runway was all noise, speed and vibration. Just the sort of effects that gets a kid involved. I could actually see the effect of the airflow on the undersides of the wings, with the metal rippling under the forces of what I'd later learn was called "lift". And then, on breaking ground, there was the distinct sensation, not of me moving up in the third dimension, but rather of the ground moving down and away from me. I felt safe and secure in that seat, and at home in that third dimension. It all seemed perfectly natural to me. Though, of course, I was the kid that climbed the backyard tree, climbed onto the garage roof, and stood tippy-toe on the very edge of a Grand Canyon cliff, scaring my parents half to death, probably more than once.

It wasn't until years later, and after a couple busted attempts at a college degree and other short careers, that I decided to try my hand at learning to fly. But I blame Dad's airplane ride for instilling the idea, and the desire, and for that, thank you Dad.



References for Non-Pilots: