I have always been fascinated by flight. This photo was 50 years ago on the day and beside the airplane which I had my first private airplane flight. I remember it like yesterday.

The ability to take to the skies like a bird captivated me. Orville and Wilbur Wright. Powered flight. Amazing.

My first flight happened on a Sunday afternoon when a friend invited me over after church. I had no idea what would transpire on what would be a benchmark day in my flying career.

My friend’s father was a pilot. And, much to my surprise, he owned an airplane. A big beautiful Cessna 172. After Sunday dinner, his father asked if we wanted to go fly. O yeah! Off we went.

The Grand Prairie, Texas Municipal airport was in the middle of town. My family would drive by it on the way to church several times a week. In fact, my father, who was the pastor of the church, took me to the airport to pickup a traveling evangelist who would fly in to speak. I remember those few occasions vividly. I was spellbound and the guest speaker invited me up onto the wing to take a look inside the cockpit. Amazing. Complex to my uninitiated young eyes. Fascinating. But I digress.

Back to that eventful Sunday.

My friend, Mike, his father, his brother, and I climbed into the Cessna. I was in the back left seat. Mike was front right seat.

We taxied out and took off. Spectacular!

I don’t remember much more from that flight but I do remember short final. Mike reached up to crank in flaps. His father batted his hand away. He said “we don’t need flaps.” Then seconds later Mikes father cranked in flaps.

I was hooked. The seed was planted. It would be years before I would fly again. In fact, it would be 30 years later. But that flight made a deposit in my young heart. I hoped that some day I would get to learn how to fly.


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