Six-year-old Peyton recently earned her Flight1 wings by going aloft with her mother Bridget and volunteer pilot David Remondini. Peyton’s brother Colin, 4, wanted to go along, at least right up until it was time to board; he decided then that he was happier waiting on the tarmac. Peyton felt more comfortable in the back seat than up front at the controls, so she and Bridget enjoyed the sights from there on a brisk and beautiful day for flying.
When Peyton later came out to Vincennes University’s Aviation Technology Center for a simulator session, she achieved a milestone by becoming the first Courageous Flier to participate in both activities.
At the sim session, Peyton and Colin didn’t quite know what to make of the full-motion Redbird, so they started in a non-motion version instead. To help alleviate their anxiety, Flight1 founder Marcus Strawhorn explained that instructor Matt Edwards is just like a teacher at school, but instead of reading or arithmetic, Matt teaches people to fly.
Colin took the first turn in the stationary sim, and as the siblings’ confidence grew, they decided to check out the full-motion Redbird after all. Into “the box” they went, again taking turns at the controls. Flight1’s mission is to instill joy and confidence in our Courageous Fliers, and one of the most rewarding aspects for our volunteers is getting to see it happen first-hand.
After flying the sims, Peyton wanted to see more of the facility, so Marcus led a tour of the classrooms and the hangar where students learn the art of aircraft maintenance in (and on) a special supersized lab: the university’s resident Boeing 737.
The activities were a hit with the children. “THANK YOU very much for the wonderful experience last night,” Bridget wrote. “The kids thoroughly enjoyed it. They continue to talk about it even this morning!”
– Russell Goutierez
Photos: Steven Fleenor