Family Rides in the Bearhawk

October 19, 2008

I was supposed to go to the annual fly-in and barbecue at Bob Barrows place in Fincastle, VA yesterday but the weather up there was looking a little dicey, so I ended up cancelling the trip. My family was all together for the weekend so I invited anyone who wanted to go flying to come out to the airport on Sunday morning before church.

First up was my mother-in-law Ann Gibbons (wife of my building partner Lonnie Gibbons).  Since she let me borrow her husband so much during this adventure I figured that she deserved to go first.  Lonnie has already had a ride in the Bearhawk when he we went up with me a couple of weeks ago.  Here is mom getting all strapped in and ready for her first flight ever in a small airplane:

That's Lonnie making sure she is all ready to go.

Mom has been a bit nervous about this but has vowed to go for ride in the Bearhawk "no matter what".  So today was the big day for her to put aside her nervousness and  just go for it. She was actually very calm this morning and ready to go.  Here we are taxiing out to the end of the turf runway::

Its a beautiful cool day with just a slight crosswind.

After run-up we lined up with the center of the runway and smoothly applied power.  Within about 100' the tail comes up:

At about 400' she lifts off and away we go:

At this point I can hear mom's voice in my headsets "weeeeeeee, I love it!" as she looks down and waves at the family who are also waving back at us.

Climbing out:

The runway is about 2800' long.  In this next picture, we are at about at the 1/2 way point and climbing through 500':

As a comparison, there are a couple of Cessna 172's that fly from this field regularly.  The C-172's are usually just about lifting off at about the 1/2 way point of the runway. Looking at the picture above, that's about where my Bearhawk is at the point they usually lift off. 

I levelled off at about 700 feet and mom and I flew around looking at some of the nicer lakefront houses here on the Mississippi Gulf coast.  Since it was her first flight I kept it short and sweet and started back for the field after about 20 minutes.  As we were headed back she was already asking when we could go up again and fly up to her house which is about 50 miles northwest of here.  To say mom is hooked, is an understatement.  She absolutely loved it!

Before long we were back in the pattern and turning base leg for the runway.  Mom was so excited she was talking non-stop so I had to explain to her the concept of a sterile cockpit during take-off and landing. Here we are on short final:

Starting the flare just above the runway:

Touchdown - nice and smooth:

Click here to go to Family Rides page 2