My first flight – as told by my grandpa

Saturday October 16, 2010. Mom and I were at a craft show when Grandpa called to see if I could go fly with him today. He tried to take me before but something always came up, like I hadn’t had my nap. When you’re four years old everybody knows no nap and flying aren’t a good mix.

Today was my lucky day – I was well rested, and Mom and I didn’t have to be home for a couple of hours.

Cade pulling airplane out
Step one – get the airplane out of the hangar.

Grandpa asked us to meet him at the grocery store near the airport so we could follow him in to his hangar. We followed him to a big fence, where he got out his security card, waved it in front of a keypad and punched in his secret code. The gate opened up and we went through, stopping on the other side to wait for the gate to close. Grandpa said we had to make sure no terrorists follow us on to the airport. Grandpa says terrorists and airplanes don’t mix.

We parked the car and walked to the hangar. Mom held me up so I could push the button to open the big hangar door. As that huge door went up I couldn’t resist grabbing the bottom as it passed in front of my eyes.

As it pulled my arms up, Grandpa told me to let go – he didn’t want any flying without wings attached.

As the big door opened, the sun lit up the hangar and there sat Buttercup (Grandpa’s Beechcraft Musketeer). Grandpa started right in checking her over. He checked the fuel in each tank and even drained a little and looked it over. He checked the wings and tail, walking all around looking and feeling to see that she was alright, looking at the propeller and engine and finally checking the oil.

Grandpa said she was ready to go, it was time to put in my car seat (plane seat) equipped with pop-out cup holders. I brought my bottle of water in case the altitude made me thirsty.

I grabbed the tow bar and with Grandpa’s help pulled Buttercup out into the open.

Cade in airplane
Strapped in and ready to go.

As I climbed in, Grandpa got out a set of blue ear muffs. He said he bought them for me and it was time to try them out. He put the muffs on me and strapped me in nice and snug, then he sat in the pilot’s seat and put on his muffs. After he flipped a couple of switches he said, “Cade how do you hear?”

“Loud and clear Grandpa.” These muffs were great; I could hear myself talk and Mom and Grandpa could hear me just fine.

Now came the part I wasn’t so sure about. I don’t much like loud noise and it was time to get Buttercup started. Grandpa got out the instructions and began flipping switches and turning knobs. Soon he hollered “prop clear” and the prop began to turn. Buttercup came alive. With my muffs on she was a little louder than Dad’s Cadillac but quieter than Grandpa’s Harley (that’s good) and we began to roll out into the open.

Grandpa said he had to do a run up. He stopped, got out his instructions again, revved up Buttercup and began pulling knobs and flipping switches. Soon Buttercup settled down to a purr again and Grandpa asked me to be quiet (I had been making noises ever since I got these muffs on; I like to hear myself) while he got clearance to depart.

I heard the nice lady tell Grandpa to taxi Echo Alfa Bravo to runway 27 – boy I like these ear muffs!

“Grandpa,” I said, “are we going to fly now?”

“In a couple of minutes,” he said, “we have to taxi all the way to the end of the runway first.”

At the end I was asked to be quiet again, as I heard through my muffs, “cleared for takeoff, turn left on course,” and away we went. We were zipping along as Mom told me to look out the window. All of a sudden things began getting smaller –  the cars were smaller, the buildings were smaller, and the trees were even getting smaller.

We hadn’t gone far when we saw the lake where Grandpa lives. Mom pointed down to the place I like to swim and a minute later we could see Grandpa’s house. We turned and flew out over where Mom grew up then headed north toward my house. As we circled over my house I could see my Dad and Brother standing in the driveway waving.

Cade by airplane
One happy co-pilot.

It was time to head back now and soon I had to stop squealing, whistling and talking so Grandpa could call the lady on the radio for permission to land. As we turned I could see the race track – Mom said no that’s the runway – and we began sailing down. Things started getting bigger: the trees were getting bigger, the buildings were bigger, and the cars started getting bigger. Next thing I knew we were back on the ground. Grandpa said, “how was that Cade?” as we turned on Alfa headed for the Golf Tees.

I helped Grandpa push Buttercup back into the hangar, Mom helped me push the button to close the door and Grandpa put my plane seat back in the car. I grabbed my blankie and sat back; I might take a little nap on the way home. Grandpa gave me some change for my piggy bank so I could start saving for flight lessons – just 12 years away, 10 if I can talk Mom and Dad into glider training.

Grandpa said we flew up to 135 mph, 2700 feet high and 68 miles, so I can start my logbook with 8 tenths of an hour.

Buttercup has taken Grandpa over 16,000 miles in 225 hours so far. I asked Grandpa if Buttercup would be around when I am ready for training.

He said probably so… after all, Buttercup is a Beechcraft.

3 Comments

  • Very nice! I have a granddaughter who is 2 1/2 and a grandson who is only 9 months old. A couple of more years and I am hoping to take the granddaughter for her first flight. For now, I will let her sit in the plane and make noises while pretending to fly. Breaking her and her parents in slowly!

  • I started taking lessons before I was old enough to solo and got my Private Certificate in 1950. I have been flying ever since with many great experiences while flying right up to my most recent flight to lunch today in the RV 6A I built.
    Two of those flights rank right near the top of the list when I was fortunate enough to give both of my grandsons their first airplane rides on their first birthdays in 1997 and 2001. The younger one slept through a great deal of the flight but he is now working toward earning his private certificate in that RV 6A. He no longer sleeps in the airplane but stays very alert.

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