Saturday, May 09, 2015

Up-Up and Away

Titusville, Florida

My father was a hobbyist pilot,  I grew up around airports and little airplanes in the mid-west and south-east. I love flying. I have flown in about everything you can think of, from a Piper J-3 Cub to a 747.  I have only ridden in a helicopter once.  I visit family in Florida a couple of times a year, a few years ago I started seeing signs, helicopter rides $40.  The first I saw the signs I looked, thought about it and didn't do it.  One of my mantras in life, is that we regret most - what we didn't do when we had the chance.  The next time I was in Florida, the sign was up, I took the turn and parked.  I went to the desk and said, here I am when do we go.  The guy looked at me and asked if there was anyone with me.  No, I was traveling solo.  He explained that the price was $40 per person, with three people, or $45 per person for a party of two.  He suggested that I wait for a few minutes and see if someone else showed up and wanted to share the ride.  I wandered around for about 20 minutes, got bored, and asked, how about if I pay for two, and go alone?  No problem, I dropped the Amex Gold and three minutes later I was climbing in and buckling up.  

He asked what I wanted to see, I said, north along the river to the north causeway and marina and then back down along Barna Avenue would be fun,  I explained to him that I had gone to High School there and flown from the two airports in town with my father in single engine aircraft, but this was my first time in a helicopter.  

The space is tight, but the view in the glass bubble canopy was unbelievable. The take off is magical, the noise picked up, and just as smooth as sitting in your living room we levitated off the ground.  It is a very unique sensation, when were about 25 feet in the air we started to move forward, gain altitude and turn north along the river.   

NASA Causeway, Titusville, Florida  
It was a short flight, about 20 minutes, we went north along the river, with a wonderful view of the town and the Kennedy Space Center, turned and went back south.  It was an amazing ride, after a few minutes the pilot figured out that I was not afraid of flying, as Igor Sikorsky once wrote to army brass, "the danger lies not in flying through the air, but in striking the ground." Coming back in for a the landing he came in low and fast over a stand of pine trees, blowing the tops of the trees like a hurricane.   

It was a little expensive, but worth every penny.  How many people of modest or middle class means, have every chartered a helicopter? If you ever get a chance, go for it.  Even a Penguin can fly with rotary wings.  


  1. "while you see a chance, you take it" - steve winwood

    since I have a fear of flying in anything, this adventure would not sit well with me. but the space center pix are cool (I have been there).

  2. love the shot of the Vehicle Assembly Bldg and the shuttle launch pad.

  3. love the shot of the Vehicle Assembly Bldg and the shuttle launch pad.

    1. It is an amazing place. The VAB was open on public tours before the Shuttle program, I don't know if they have opened it to tours since the end of the shuttle program.