Photos by OHventures
I have been in an airplane many times in my life, but only on countless commercial flights (and of course that time I went skydiving).
This past Labor Day weekend was the first time I had the opportunity to ride in a non-commercial plane - all thanks to a great friend of mine, Alex (who joined us previously for the Bike Columbus Festival), who recently earned his pilot license! On a limb, I told Alex that I wanted to ride in his plane sometime soon, and without hesitation, he obliged!
Alex told me that I would be his first official passenger. This was both an honor and a true sign of bravery! Truth be told, there was nothing to be scared of, because Alex is a total pro and it was 100% safe.
Our flight plan consisted of Alex flying from OSU airport in Columbus to pick me up in Akron/Canton. From there, we would fly over my house and circle around over downtown Canton before heading west and north to our final destination of Kelley's Island!
The plane we were riding in was a Diamond DA20 Eclipse. I am not even sure what all that means, other than it was a very small 2-seat aircraft! I was surprised when I first saw the plane to see just how small it was. Sitting together inside, our knees touched and there was not much room to move about! This meant it would be a cozy flight!
After a short safety briefing, Alex and I departed from Akron/Canton for our cross-state trek! It was an extremely smooth take-off and flight altogether, putting me at ease and allowing me to soak in the sights. We were flying at heights of approximately 3000-5000 feet, which is not very high in comparison to most commercial flights, which are found at an altitude of 30,000 feet!
View of Downtown Canton
Being at this "low" altitude (seemed high to me as we were up there) made it easy to make out key landmarks (such as the McKinley Monument in Canton), and other points of interest (such as a cement plant in Huron - pictured below).
View of Huron, OH (the white smoke is from the cement plant)
Perhaps the coolest sight to see was the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky! It was really awesome to soar over this small peninsula and to make out all of the rides and attractions. The massive (such as Top Thrill Dragster and Millennium Force) all looked minuscule from our vantage point flying over! As funny as it sounds, it was also remarkable to see just how massive the parking lot of Cedar Point is (pictured below).
Cedar Point in Sandusky
Our headsets gave us the ability to speak to one another and hear one another clearly. Alex affixed two GoPro cameras to the inside of the plane so that we could re-watch our aerial adventure at a later time (link coming soon!).
The trip flew by (no pun intended) and took us just 45 minutes to reach Kelley's Island - much better than the 2.5 hours by car and the ferry ride on top of that! After a smooth landing, Alex and I explored the island and ate some lunch (a post on that coming soon).
Before heading back, we were sure to circle over the neighboring Lake Erie island of South Bass, so we could catch a good glimpse of the vacation town of Put-In-Bay (where Alex and I partied with friends in summer of 2014). It was awesome to see Perry's Monument (pictured above), and the rest of the resort town from the sky.
Overall, my "AirVentures" trip was incredibly exciting and just what I needed to cap off my summer. Seeing the great state of Ohio from up above is something that everyone should try at some point in his or her life. Since you likely don't have a close friend who has a pilot license, try some of these options: Wright B Flyer in Dayton, Cincinnati Airplane Tours in Cincinnati, Flight 54 Travel & Tours in Cleveland, Capital City Jet Center in Columbus, and Pickaway County Airport in Circleville for starters.