I finally managed to surprise Dan- with a flight on the Wright B Flyer! :-)
I have been trying to surprise Dan since we met in 2001. No chance. It's totally impossible to surprise someone when you live AND work together 24/7! But when I planned out our road trip across the USA to BC, Canada online I Finally found something I thought I could surprise my US Army Retired Aviation hubs with- a flight on the Wright B Flyer, the ONLY flying copy of the Wright Brother's production plane used by the US Army in WWI!
I routed our trip through Dayton, OH, which I knew was "the" aviation capitol of America, and in researching cool aviation things to see and do in the area I found the Wright B! I learned that if you join the museum for $100 you can have a "fam flight",
and I called the museum and booked one for each of us, and kept my mouth shut,
(which was REALLY hard to do...), tantalizing Dan only with the promise of a "surprise" somewhere on the road...
We left Landgraff, WV later than I had hoped, and got to Dayton, OH too late to visit any of the many aviation museums I'd hoped to get Dan to... And when we woke up in Ohio the next morning to rain, I was almost in tears. I had to finally tell Dan what the surprise was Supposed To Have Been, as I was positive there was No Way they would fly us in the rain… We went to the hangar anyway, to at least see the plane, joined the museum for $100 each, and hung around yakking with the pilot and volunteers, hoping for a 5 minute break in the weather... and when it finally happened, the wonderful Wright B Flyer pilot flew us! It started raining while Dan was taxiing, and my flight was totally in the rain, but it was magic! And Dan LOVED it! :-) And I LOVED it! Flying in that plane, even for a few, brief minutes, gives you a TOTALLY NEW appreciation for the true miracle of aviation and the utterly fearless people who made it happen- with cloth and string and sticky tape!! Don't forget- this was a US ARMY MILITARY plane- two seats, foot pedals, and open to the wind and the weather! And not so long ago- my dad was born in 1918, and this was what the US Army was flying!
|Dan in the Wright B Flyer- ready for take-off!|
Elisse, landing in the Wright B- in the rain!
Each flight was only 5 minutes, as the plane is not allowed to leave the airport, with less than a minute in the air and only about 80 feet off the ground (and I SO wanted it to go on and go higher- even in the rain!), but it was amazing- a truly unique experience- headphones, goggles, rain, and all- that is only available there: the Wright B is the only flying copy of the Wright Brother’s plane in existence, and it no longer travels anywhere. If you are "into" aviation on any level this is total MUST-DO!
The night we arrived we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Franklin, Ohio (close to Miamisburg and the Wright B), and had a fun dinner at Chappy's Tap Room in Moraine, OH, where we enjoyed some good ribs and a beer sampler: