Saturday, January 4, 2014

80th Birthday Flight - Happy Birthday GP!

My grandfather turned 80 years old back in September... so what better way to celebrate the birthday than a first flight with his grandson as the pilot? GP, my grandfather, was one of the main figures in my life who inspired me to begin flying from an early age. From the time I was just a baby, I can remember going to air shows with him or having his hand crafted models hanging from my ceiling. 

Because of my status as a student pilot, to carry passengers, I have to have an instructor ride up front with me. In September, I began planning a flight with GP, my dad, and my instructor around Richmond in one of our school's Cessna 172s. Here is what the actual birthday gift looked like: 

This wasn't just GP's first flight with me, but also my dad's. I'm proud to say that they didn't seem too nervous before we got to the airport. They'd both seen me fly solo, but never had actually been in the plane with me. 

A few days ago, we finally found a great day with nice weather to do the flight, New Years Day. Is there any better way to start off the new year? I chose to fly in N5335J, one of the school's C172 with a nicer, leather interior. The plan was fly East over the James River, towards Williamsburg, around Richmond's Class C airspace, and then return on the opposite side of the airspace. That route worked out pretty well and gave us some nice views of Richmond and the James River. 

We had a smooth flight round trip, and a pretty good landing into Hanover KOFP. I was surprised that I got the landing so smooth, since I very rarely fly in the 172. It's a plane that I'll soon be building much more time in, as I want to be fully qualified to fly the Skyhawk and it's 4 seats vs. the Tecnam's 2. Plus, as it's a larger plane and I feel as though it flies much more smoothly, being easier to keep in steady flight. 

Thanks GP and Dad for joining me on a great flight to being the New Year. I can't wait to get that license in a few weeks, so that I'm finally the PIC. 

-Swayne Martin 
Twitter: @MartinsAviation


  1. Happy Birthday Grandpa!!! What a great flight!!!

  2. Aw, this made me smile, Swayne! You have such a loving, supportive family! I can only imagine your GP's beaming, teary-eyed, with pride as you whizzed them around the countryside and swooped in for a perfect 2-pointer!

    (Tip: landings tend to be smoother with heavier airplanes!) ;-)

  3. What is the reason that you started flying?

    -Paul Robins


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Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin