Sunday, September 1, 2013

OBX Airplanes Flight Lesson into First Flight Airport, Kitty Hawk, NC

One thing I really started doing this summer was flying wherever I traveled with my family. Before this week, I'd flown Piper's over Gulf Shores, Alabama, and gliders over Lake Tahoe, California. Being a pilot opens up a world of new opportunities, some of which most people in the world will never experience. So many "firsts" were made for me this summer: my first flight over a beach, first flight with my mom, first flight with my brother, first glider flight, first helicopter flight, and now, my first flight into First Flight Airport!

Jenny Hawk founded and runs an awesome operation out of the Dare County Regional Airport (KMQI), on Manteo Island, North Carolina. OBX Airplanes serves student pilots in the Outer Banks area with it's Cessna 150 (N704EV). This isn't you average C150 though, it's equipped with Garmin instruments which allows the plane to be used for instrument training.

Being in Waves, North Carolina, and renting a beach house for a week, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to fly over the Outer Banks for the first time. For years, I've been vacationing with my family for week long stays in rented beach houses, anywhere from Corolla, to Duck, to Rodanthe, on the Outer Banks (OBX). 

Here is the youtube video with both GoPro footage and exterior footage (from my dad) of our flight, edited with music. Time-lapse footage is included, check it out!: 

Arriving at the Dare County Airport, Jenny drove us over the the OBX Airplanes hangar, where our C150 was waiting. After going over the logbook and flight plan, we decided that it would be best to fly South, over Waves, NC, where our beach house and family would be waiting for a flyover. We'd then fly North towards the First Flight Airport and Kitty Hawk. 

Seeing the Outer Banks from the air for the first time was pretty incredible. It's amazing that so many people live on that tiny strip of sand which stretches for miles from Virginia to the beginning of South Carolina. We flew over the inlet side of the OBX during our flight to Waves. The water was so clear an shallow, you could see a few shipwrecks along the way too!

We were soon over our Waves, NC beach house, and all of my brothers and family on the beach. I saw a few of my brothers in the ocean waving their boogie boards and surf boards overhead for us. Jenny and I made about 3 passes of the beach, so they would know that was our plane. 

After the flyover, we flew North along the coast towards Kitty Hawk. To our right, we could see the boiler of a ship which sank right on the beach. As you saw in the video, we had a strong left quarterly crosswind, which required us to crab a decent amount.  

As any pilot or aviation enthusiast will know, the first heavier-than-air powered flight took place in Kitty Hawk, on December 17th, 1903. The Wright Brother's flew their primitive Wright-Flyer I, made of Spruce wood and Pride of the West muslin, off Kill Devil Hills, NC. Today, a monument sits atop the dune upon which the Wright Brothers flew many of their test-glider flights. This monument is easily seen from First Flight Airport (KFFA), which is only a few hundred yards away.

Arriving into First Flight Airport for the first time was a really cool moment for me. We flew over Kill Devil Hills and the Wright Brother's Monument. I couldn't help but think what the Wright Brother's might've thought if they'd been able to get their hands on the controls of the Cessna 150 I was flying. 

My dad was waiting at the end of the runway for our arrival into KFFA's runway 20. In the video below, you can see his exterior footage of our landing coupled with the GoPro cockpit footage which was being recorded at the same time. Here is the video:

The First Flight Airport was extremely quiet, as expected. There were a handful of planes on the ramp, covered with tarps. The background looking out from the airport was quite impressive though, with the Wright Brother's monument standing on the very close dune.

Here is the video of our takeoff from KFFA's runway 20. Once again, both the exterior footage from my dad and the cockpit GoPro footage have been matched up:

After taking off from KFFA, we flew back to the Dare County Airport (KMQI) and did two circuits around the pattern. You can see our landing on Dare County's runway 23 in the video below:

As we were parking at the OBX Airplanes Hangar, we had the awesome luck of seeing banner-towing planes pick up and drop off their banners. I had no idea of the acrobatic skill required of banner pilots to pick up their banners. Look up a video on youtube to see this in action.

I want to thank Jenny Hawk and OBX Airplanes for an awesome set of "firsts:" flying over the Outer Banks, flying into First Flight Airport, and flying a Cessna 150. What another awesome summer flight experience! 

I recommend anyone in the Outer Banks area to contact OBX Airplanes and schedule a flight, you won't regret it! Thanks again Jenny!,
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation


  1. This is an awesome post!!! Nice to meet you Jenny. Okay Swayne, you out did yourself on this one. Keep up the great work and videos too.

    1. Thanks so much Karlene, glad you liked it!

      Been loving the posts on your blog!,

  2. Nice post. I love the idea of flying on vacations! This is a wonderful way to experience different airports, airplanes and procedures as well as exposing yourself to different instructors.

    1. Thanks so much Brad!

      I really enjoyed learning with different instructors this summer, it made for some diverse flying!

      Thanks again,

  3. This is awesome! I'm 16 and if everything goes according to plan, ill be starting flight lessons this fall! Every 2 years me and my family go to the Outer Banks. We stay in Avon, bout an hour south of Waves. This gave me a great idea to do this same thing next summer when we are out there!

    1. Hey Tucker!

      Thanks for the comment, and awesome to hear that you're going to do it! I go every year, maybe I'll see you around! I'd highly recommend Jenny for a flight if that's something you're interested in. Let her know that you found her via this article, she'd find that pretty cool!

      Thanks for the comment,

  4. Good luck with the blog! Great stories

    1. Thanks Steve! Stay tuned for some awesome new articles coming soon!,


Thanks for your comment; I really appreciate it! Glad you are here with me on the blog. If your comment does not appear right away, it will after verification.

Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin