Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flying through Air with Greatest Ease Is within Our Reach

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flying through Air with Greatest Ease Is within Our Reach

Article excerpt

The sight of sparrows darting through the trees or of a hawk afloat above the interstate, spotted from a car's back seat, can capture many a child's admiration.

Flight is a special feat merely to observe, but participating in taking something into the sky has the power to create an even greater experience. The ultimate thrill of flight comes in taking the controls yourself, climbing off the ground, joining the ranks of a world free from the confines of fields and hills and taking in the full expanse of the sky.

I grew up fascinated with airplanes and flying, spurred on by family who worked in the industry. My aircraft mechanic uncle provided the rare opportunity to be in and around the fleet he helped maintain. Not many kids get to run around in the back of an empty cargo plane, stand in the engine cowls and hang out in the cockpit.

A few trips to the Pittsburgh air traffic control tower, where my grandfather worked for years maintaining the electronic equipment and computers, offered another close-up into the world of aviation. But even after all of those experiences, as well as filling shelves with plastic airplane models and graduating college with an aeronautics degree, I had never taken hold of a yoke and piloted an aircraft.

That was until I married my wife more than three years ago. From the outstanding list of memorable moments associated with that event, one of the best things I got (besides everlasting love, a partner for life, blah blah blah) was the chance to fly.

It was a surprise wedding gift from my wife, who signed me up for an introductory flight from the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center at the Allegheny County Airport. While flying an airplane may sound like an extremely difficult activity that is both too challenging to master and too financially burdensome to afford, I found out that it's more accessible than you might think.

I was excited that brisk October morning as we made our way to the airport, just a short drive from our home. …

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