When Flight1 invited Alisa, Rebecca, and Emily to become Courageous Fliers, the three teens weren’t quite sure what to expect. When they found out they’d be going up in a Cessna 172—and that one of them would get to take the controls—enthusiasm soon swept aside any jitters.
The young ladies accompanied volunteer flight instructor David Remondini on the preflight, then went for a half-hour hop that took them north through cold, clear skies from Indianapolis Regional to Geist Lake. Eighteen-year-old Alisa took the co-pilot’s seat after getting some reassuring advice. “I jokingly told her flying was easier than driving,” said Flight1 founder Marcus Strawhorn, “because there’s no reverse, no road signs, and no parallel parking.”
Adding to the excitement was a rare sight back at the airport: a Boeing B-17! This particular Flying Fortress played the title role in the 1990 film Memphis Belle since the original plane wasn’t airworthy. When filming concluded, the understudy retained her historic paint scheme and flies today to honor the brave aircrews who defended our freedom over Europe. The original Memphis Belle awaits restoration at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, OH.
“Seeing a B-17 was amazing,” said Margo. “History right there in front of us!”
– Russell Goutierez
Photos: Steven Fleenor