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The Suburbanite
  • Young volunteer honored with first flight

  • Mark Moffatt was really excited when the Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) Musuem held their Fall All You Can Eat Pancake Day. But it wasn't about all the pancakes he could have.
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  • Mark Moffatt was really excited when the Military Aviation Preservation Society (MAPS) Musuem held their Fall All You Can Eat Pancake Day. But it wasn't about all the pancakes he could have.
    No, Moffatt, was going to go for his first airplane ride.
    It all started when Moffatt began volunteering at the museum. His uncle, a MAPS member, brought him out one day and Moffatt fell in love with the museum. He became a familiar sight around the old planes, volunteering to do all sorts of jobs at the MAPS facility. And the members instantly took a liking to the smiling, courteous 12-year-old who attends Lake Elementary School.
    "He became my designated golf cart driver," MAPS member Ralph Lynn said with a smile. "He is such a nice young man, always pleasant and respectful."
    As Moffatt became a common sight at the museum he received the nickname "Dink". He was always asking to come out to the museum and help around the facility.
    "He comes out all the time,"MAPS member Wayne Noall said. "He is so well behaved, he runs errands for us, its really nice to have him around."
    When the MAPS members learned that Moffatt had never flown in a plane, they worked to change that.
    "We decided to reward him for all that he had done around here," said Noall. "So we worked out a ride for him in a plane piloted by one of our members, Ken Ramsay."
    Everything was set and, on MAPS Pancake Day, the boy took flight for the first time.
    "I had never flown before," he said. "I just thought it looked like it would be so much fun to fly."
    Ramsay, who flew F-100 jet fighters in Vietnam, belongs to a flying club. He rented a Cessna 150 and flew the plane into the MAPS facility. As the 11:30 flight drew near Moffatt eagerly awaited the take-off.
    As Ken did the walk-around, pre-flight check of the airplane, Moffatt followed, watching his every move. When Ken finally signaled everything was OK they boarded the plane. Moffatt settled into his seat wearing a pair of headphones.
    The plane's engines spurted at first, then roared to life. As it taxied past the spectators, Moffatt gave a "thumbs up." A big grin spread across on his face. Then he and Ramsay were gone, heading up into the wild blue yonder.
    Half an hour later they returned and the joy on Moffatt's face was evident.
    "He let me pull up on the take-off," Moffatt said. "It was so cool. I wasn't scared at all. But my feet couldn't reach the controls on the floor."
    For Ramsay, who also trained pilots while serving in the Air Force, it was a great experience also.
    Page 2 of 2 - "I took him up over the Portage Lakes and he recognized them," Ramsay said. "I showed him how to fly a little and he had a good time. He is the youngest person I have ever taken flying."
    After landing, a small ceremony was then held in the hanger. Moffatt was given a flight certificate and his own pilot's log book to record his first flight by. Afterward, as he walked around the hanger, MAPS members asked to see his first flight entry. Many of them believe that flight Moffatt took probably won't be his last.