Most Unusual Introductory Flight

Here is the short list of 'most unusual introductory flight' entries selected by our three judges, Amy Laboda, Chief Editor WAI, Rose Dorcey, President of the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame, and Susan Larson, President of the 99s.

Criteria in this award category include type of aircraft, location or destination, pilot or passenger uniqueness.

Please review each entry and scroll down to vote for your top pick.

The poll will close on Jan 13, 2011 at 6 PM Pacific Time.

CANADA | ON | Oshawa | CYOO | Cessna 150 & 172 | Pilot Clark M.

Location: Oshawa, ON, CANADA

Airport: CYOO

Date of Flight(s): 10/11, 10/12, 10/17 & 10/30 2010

PIC: Clark M.

Non-Pilot Female Passenger(s): 

  • Marie W.
  • Karen B.
  • Tawnia H.
  • Zainub H.
  • Laurie O.
  • Victoria M.
  • Barb O.
  • Kelly M.
PIC Clark M. with the happy couple, Zainub and MurtazaPlease click on the photo for more.

Comments:

"I am a Flight Instructor at Durham Flight Centre at the Oshawa Airport. We had set up that this was going to be a sightseeing flight that the couple's friend, her name is Fatema H., was going to take them on. I was informed beforehand that the intent of the flight was to do a marriage proposal. Unfortunately, Fatema H. was out of currency at our flight school and we didn't have the weather for a checkout so I had to go with them and assumed the Pilot in Command responsibilities. This worked out nicely as she was able to operate the camera for the big moment. We took off from Oshawa and up around nearby Lake Scugog to check out the colours of the fall leaves. On the way we flew over a piece of farm equipment that had caught on fire and had a large plume of thick black smoke rising from it. We circled it briefly to make sure Oshawa Tower was aware of it's location, and then carried on our way. After flying for about 20 minutes, Murtaza got the ring box out of his pocket and popped the question. I think the first words out of Zainub H.'s mouth were "Are you serious?" Haha! For a split second I felt very bad for him. Luckily she said yes right after that and we flew back to Oshawa. The mission was a success and I am told that they are away getting married during the holidays." Clark M.

ENGLAND | Bristol | Hot Air Balloon 90cu & A-120 | Pilot Allie D.

Location: Bristol, ENGLAND

Date of Flight(s): 12/12, 12/25 & 12/26 2010

PIC: Allie D.

Non-Pilot Female Passenger(s): 

  • Liz M.
  • Linda H.
  • Kate B.
  • Carolyn W.
PIC Allie D. and Liz M., Linda H., and AllisonPlease click on the photo for more.

Comments:

"12/25 & 12/26 - I offered two flights in a drawing among the employees of my swimming club for Christmas. Both girls really loved the experience! Kate had dared a sky jump before and really enjoyed the balloon experience so much that she might become a regular. Carolyn, well, I had talked to her a lot at the club and she was reluctant to try flying because of fear of heights. But I still encouraged her to come and try - and then she even won second place in the drawing and there she was this morning!! And she wasn't afraid at all! So really great and successful." Allie D.

ENGLAND | Shoreham by Sea | EGKA | Robinson R44 | Pilot Dorothy P.

Location: Shoreham by Sea, West Sussex, England

Airport: EGKA

Date of Flight(s): 8/18 2010

PIC: Dorothy P.

Non-Pilot Female Passenger(s): 

  • Pippa C.
  • Ellie C.

Onboard and ready to fly
Please click on the photo for more.

Comments:

"I took up twin thirteen year olds for their first ever flight in a helicopter. Our airfield is also celebrating its centenary this year." Dorothy P.

IRELAND | Dublin | EIWT | Cessna 340 | Pilot Andrei F.

Location: Bublin, IRELAND

Airport: EIWT

Date of Flight(s): 10/26/2010

PIC: Andrei F.

Non-Pilot Female Passenger(s): 

  • Jane F.
  • Karen H.
  • Andrea J.

Co-pilot for one flight
Please click on the photo for more.

Comments:

"In short: this is probably the longest flight intro (4,395 miles), with the longest leg (916 miles Narsarsuaq-Gander), and the most dangerous (crossing the North Atlantic in November)

Details: Andrea J.'s father has had MS for decades (both live in Slovakia). She contacted us after seeing the Wall Street Journal article, telling us a flight would mean everything to her father. During the communist years there were no MS drugs in Slovakia. Then starting in the 90s, after the fall of Communism, Peter was too old to be given any drugs. He became wheelchair bound, and has not even able to attend the wedding of his other daughter. Andrea's mom had to give up work to care for him. Peter's only refuge has been painting, and he sends his works to an annual exhibit. But he has never been able to see them exposed.

When we arrived in Slovakia, Peter told me he has forgot about his MS for the first time in his life during the 2 months he waited for us to arrive. He handed me a painting he did for us.

Because of what the flight and our mission meant to her father, and because crossing the Atlantic in a small plane sounded like the ultimate adventure, Andrea decided to meet us in our last stop in Europe, Dublin, and fly with us to New York (her sister also lives in New York).

Andrea joined us in Dublin on October 26th, and she flew with us on the route: Dublin-London-Stornoway-Reykjiavik-Narsarsuaq-Gander-Brockway-Farmingdale (NY).

During the 5 hour flight from Reykjivik to Narsarsuq we had to fly very high (over 25,000 ft) in order to get radio reception. It got so cold that the heater could not keep up anymore. The thermometer was indicating -21F, but it routinely shows 10F higher temperature, so I suspect it was towards -30F. The windows iced up solid on the inside. You have a picture of us wearing all the clothes we had plus sleeping bags.

Also, one vacuum pump failed prior to us reaching Dublin. We managed to get it changed in Iceland. From Narsarsuaq to Gander the other one failed too! A few hours earlier and we could have been in trouble!

Once in Gander we realized Andrea cannot actually enter the U.S. aboard a private plane, as her visa waiver was only valid for commercial flights or over ground. We found two airports close to each other, one in Canada (CCX3) and the other in the U.S. (KPNN). We dropped Andrea off at CCX3, and entered the US at KPNN. The manager of CCX3 was so nice to offer to drive Andrea through the border and to KPNN. We waited 3 hours. They finally came. Border agents found this arrangement so strange they at some point threaten to arrest both Andrea and the airport manager! So they spent hours scrutinizing her.

After that, we had a nice, uneventful flight into KFRG.

This was Andrea's intro to flying a small plane!"

Andrei F., www.FlyMS.org

USA | OH | Dayton | I73 | 1930 Waco RNF | Pilot Susan T.

Location: Dayton, OH, USA

Airport: I73

Date of Flight(s): 9/18/2010

PIC: Susan T.

Non-Pilot Female Passenger(s): 

  • Mitzi S.

PIC Susan T. (back) and Mitzi S. (front) in the Waco
Please click on the photo for more.

Comments:

"I took my PPL check ride with Martha Lunken in my 1930 Waco RNF in October of 2009. Probably about 50 years since a woman has done that! I’ve been giving as many rides as possible since then and hoping to get more women interested in not only flying but flying the “good old planes”! I love sharing my Waco and hope to do so for many years to come!" Susan T.

USA | TN | Tullahoma | KTHA | Luscombe 11A | Pilot Sharon T.

Location: Tullahoma, TN, USA

Airport: KTHA

Date of Flight(s): 11/6, 11/8 & 11/18 2010

PIC: Sharon T.

Non-Pilot Female Passenger(s): 

  • Lynnette E.
  • Kathy E.
  • Claire M.
(right to left) PIC Sharon T. and her sister, Kathy E.Please click on the photo for more.

Comments:

"Nettie was my best friend in high school out in California. She has since moved to Seattle area and we see each other once a year in order to bake Aunt Kate’s old fruitcake recipe for Christmas. So I gave Nettie a ride in the Sedan.

We were sightseeing up around McMinnville, TN, when the tachometer needle bounced, then pegged itself on 3000 rpm, and then fell off! Meanwhile the whole instrument cluster was vibrating severely. We flew back to Tullahoma while I tried to verify that the airplane was running okay despite the vibration, with Nettie none the wiser. She snapped pictures all the way to the ground.

My sister also comes to bake fruitcake once a year. This year was no different, except that the weather was conducive to flying so we flew in the Luscombe Sedan. I don’t think my sister is going to learn to fly, but she does like checking things off of her 'bucket list'."

Sharon T.