Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vicarious Helicopterism

Today my wife and I attended a wonderful open house at Marlboro Airport (9B1), sponsored by North Andover Flight Academy, a helicopter flight school based at Lawrence Airport, with a satellite operation at Marlboro. There was an FAA safety seminar on helicopter topics, a free barbecue, various pilots and students to talk with, and $99 helicopter intro rides. All great fun for an aviation geek like me, but this was really not about me - it was actually for my wife! Although she has never had much interest in small airplanes, our recent Grand Canyon helicopter tour awakened a previously unknown passion for rotary wing flight. Who knew?

So she took a 30 minute intro flight in a Robinson R22, and she absolutely loved it. She got to control the helicopter in straight and level flight (hovering and other more tricky maneuvers will all come in due time, but usually not on a 30 minute intro lesson). Her instructor (Anthony) was wonderful. She will definitely be taking more lessons. Since my feet and hands are still trying to master tail wheel landings this summer, I won't be doing any helo flights myself, but I will be encouraging my wife on this new adventure. I'm very proud of her!

NAFA's blog has a more complete report on the open house here. There's also an article by a Metro West Daily News reporter who took an intro flight with Anthony in the R22.