Hi, so sorry there are no photos - but it was an unexpected flight! My friend took a few pics, and as soon as I have them, I will get them uploaded!
I was just finishing a flying lesson on my Instructor's course at Fort Pierce, when my instructor told me that Missionary Flights International (MFI) were having an open day.
I’ve been here in KFPR for 7 weeks now, having got my JAR CPL, and every time I pass by the MFI hanger, I’ve been intrigued by the DC3s that were parked there. I even managed to see one depart right in front of me whilst holding for departure. So when my instructor informed me they gave flights, for a donation of just $20, I was so there!
We finished our lesson (teaching climbs and descents), tied down our plane, and drove over to the MFI hangar. There were quite a lot of people there, and me and the other guy on my course had a look round.
And we saw a small queue for the pleasure flights onboard. After signing a declaration we joined the queue for the flights. Now, we noticed there was a turbo DC3 and a Piston DC3. We really wanted to fly the piston!
On reaching the desk, we were greeted by two very friendly ladies, who chatted to us, and got us sorted. Our request to go on the piston was met with a ‘sure can!’, and we handed over the money. We were advised we would be in the air in around an hour.
So we were feeling peckish, and went to the snack stall. All the asked for was a donation, so dropped in a $10 and got some hot dogs, cookies, and some Diet Cokes. The atmosphere was very enthusiastic, and so welcoming. We sat and watched the DC3s take off and looked at some of the other exhibitions.
We went on to a DC3 in the hanger, and had a look round – and a sit in the cockpit, with the obligatory ‘arm hanging out’ picture of ourselves in the Captains seat! We also had a good look around the plane, and sat in the cabin. Which, was quite luxurious, with 4 abreast seating, with a good 38inch seat pitch.
Before long, it was our turn to board. We walked on to the apron, were counted, and we stood together. The ‘agent’ lead us in Prayer, which, despite lacking faith, I of course joined the group in prayer.
was then time to board! It was so exciting. Before long, we took our seats (2 C and D), so we were very close to the engine. The Captain took us through the safety procedures, and again led us in Prayer one more time.
We were amazed at how quiet the engine was on start up and taxi, and before long, we were at 09, ready for departure. A few moments holding for landing traffic, and it was our turn! We lined up for takeoff, the atmosphere onboard was amazing!
Before long, the engine ROARED in to life. Thundering down the runway, the tail smoothly lifted off, and pretty quickly, we were ascending skywards. The noise was incredible, and the smiles on our faces were massive! It was so exciting!
Wow! What power. What sound. And so nostalgic! We climbed up to 1500ft, and the engines powered down, and thankfully, the noise reduced! My poor ears were starting to suffer. We continued to the coast, turned south towards Stewart. The cruise was quite swift, even at that altitude, there sure was a sensation of speed.
Before long, we were on a right downwind for 09 at Fort Pierce. The landing was smooth, and provided a great view. Even from the aisle seat, the nice large windows provided a great view, of the massive wing and engine.
Touchdown was very smooth, and signalled the end of a wonderful flight!
MFI have open days once a year – and I highly recommend it! It was a lovely day out, and MFI do such a wonderful job. Helping those less fortunate than ourselves. Keep up your mission, you make such a difference to so many people . And thanks MFI for the wonderful opportunity to fly a piston DC3 – you can count on me making donations from now on!