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Flying with my son

Steven flying3My Son Steven and I have now logged about 6 flights and I figured it was time to do a bit of writing on the subject. From about the time my son became old enough to hold a toy airplane he has been fascinated with flying. Sometimes I think he is more interested in airplanes than I am. I just hope his interest doesn’t wane as flying becomes more and more “routine” for him. My wife on the other hand has never really caught the flying bug. There was a time when she “unenthusiastically” flew with me almost every weekend but at that time I was a new pilot and her dislike for small planes was confirmed on more than a few bumpy summer afternoons at low altitude just poking holes in the sky. I look back on those days and shake my head at the money wasted and time spent going nowhere and learning very little. I just didn’t have the confidence to head out on long cross-country trips at the time. Now with an instrument rating and over 300 hours total time I am finally using my pilots’ license for what I wanted it for. Don’t get me wrong, flying around sightseeing on a nice day still has its appeal but when people ask “where did you go this weekend” I would rather answer Ocean City MD or Bar Harbor MA then “well, we flew around for 3 hours and went nowhere”.

Our first flight:
Steven flying2My first flight with my son was on July 13th of 2008. The plan was to fly one of our club airplanes (N3054E) to Blairstown NJ 1N7 for breakfast. I had been watching the weather all week and was keeping a sharp eye on an approaching front that was forecast to bring gusty winds later in the day. Normally this would be of lesser concern but since I was planning on flying with my wife it made me think about canceling the flight. I told my wife that it would get windy later on in the day, but if we got back in time we should be ok. She agreed to come along and told me that she didn’t care if it was bumpy (I should have known better). When we got to the airport my first task was to install the car seat in the back of the airplane. I figured out a great way to attach the car-seat using ratcheting tie-downs. I run the tie-down through the loops in the back of the car seat and under the airplane seat where I attach the hooks to the frame. This has got to be by far the safest seat in the airplane!

As is normally the case it took longer then anticipated to complete the preflight and get everyone ready to go so instead of our planed 9am departure it was more like 10am. The flight over to Blairstown was uneventful and relatively smooth. We had a good breakfast but I spent most of the time thinking about the winds at Morristown.

After walking around the airport for a while it came time to depart. As expected soon after leaving the runway the bumps started and didn’t subside until we were on the ground at Morristown. During the flight I took a minute to check on my son during the flight and was pleasantly surprised to see that he was smiling and playing with his toy V35 Bonanza. My wife on the other hand was yelling at me for every bump “MIKE I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!” fun times!

The next flight was much better….


Lou, Pattty, Shannon, and Steven at Lou and Patty's (Steven is in the airplane)

First flight take 2 our second flight 11/29/2008:
For the next flight I decided to fly Shannon and Steven up to my long time friend’s home. Lou and Patty live on a private airpark in PA. The runway is also the main road leading to the homes which makes this destination really cool for me. You activate the pilot controlled lighting on the CTAF and the gate leading into the airpark locks. This also turns on strobe lights alerting people on the ground of your pending arrival. After landing you taxi around the side of the home to the hanger (the house is built into a hill so the hanger looks just like a garage).

On the morning of the flight there was an overcast ceiling at around 4000 feet and calm winds with good forecasts so I was expecting a smooth ride. The flight up to Lou and Patty’s was uneventful but not totally smooth since the once overcast ceiling had become broken cumulus with the expected bumps when flying below them. I explained that if we were on a longer trip we could climb above the clouds into smoother air and even let Shannon know when to expect some bumps (the darker the cloud the bumpier). After our visit with Lou and Patty it was time to depart. The sun was just setting which worried Shannon a bit. Shannon has always worried about ending up like JFK Jr. We explained (Lou and Patty are both pilots) that nighttime is normally the nicest time to fly and it was a beautiful one at that. Once we took off I contacted Allentown approach for flight following. Shannon seemed to enjoy the orderly flow of flight following and the fact that “they are helping you spot traffic”.  We were soon handed off to New York approach and given clearance into the class bravo for the slow decent into Morristown. Shannon really enjoyed the flight home and even said that she would fly again at night. I just know she will enjoy the order of the IFR system. I know I do.

Video from one of my later flights with my son.
Come along with me and my 3 year old son Steven on a flight from Sky Manor airport in Pittstown n40 NJ to Morristown NJ kmmu. Kids say the darnedest things.

More write-ups and videos to come.

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  • Bobbi

    Nice piece, Mike. To make it better, how do you feel about flying with your son?

  • Good point. I was going to add a bit about that.

  • When I taught my wife to fly our middle son always demanded we take him with us. He would climb in the back seat and promptly go to sleep.

    Today, in his 30s, he is still flying. He works as a 'roadie", a traveling mechanic who goes along with charter DC-8 and 767 aircraft, and is seeing the world.


  • Richard "D"

    I found your website by accident, and what a joy it is. I feel as though after a 15 year absence, I am back in the cockpit of my old mooney. Just flying around and enjoying every minute, including the $50.00
    (at the time) cup of coffe at Orange Cty airport in NY. Currently living in south Florida, I am trying to decide on either trying to get back my 3rd class medical or just explore LSA flying as those aircraft become more available.
    Good luck with your future flying endeavors, wherever they may take you . I will look forward to riding along
    on your website.
    Rich "D" in Boca

  • Thank you so much for your kind comment Rich. I hope you decide to get back into aviation and please keep me posted on your progress. Best of luck to you. Happy and safe flying.

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda