Two weeks after receiving my private pilot certificate, the weather finally cooperated enough to go flying. This past Friday, my kids were out of school and the weather was perfect. I had already thought about taking my 8 year old up as my first official passenger. He has been one of my number one supporters and has been eagerly awaiting the chance to go flying with me. It has been a long time coming, but when I asked him if he wanted to fly to lunch, he was ecstatic. Naturally, I had cleared it with my wife first. She was pretty quick to say yes – “I guess they’re going to fly with you eventually anyway.” I wanted to fly somewhere that was relatively close, preferably somewhere with a place to eat on the field. I remembered hearing about a neat little airport called Peach State (GA2) 47nm to the southwest of West Georgia. It should be a pretty easy flight – about half an hour in the Tri-Pacer and they have a restaurant called the Barnstormers Grill on site. So I planned it.
The winds were relatively calm and the sky was clear. We headed out to the airport at lunch, preflighted the plane and fueled up. My son was more interested in the pre-takeoff checks inside the plane than the preflight, but I guess that’s to be expected. Most of the “cool” stuff is inside the plane. We setup our destination in the Garmin and Foreflight and were ready to depart.
The flight down to Peach State only took about 30 minutes. We had to avoid some smoke in Newnan from a couple of controlled burns – I guess it’s that time of year. On the other side of Newnan we tuned into the CTAF for Peach State and began listening. My initial plan was to land on runway 13, as it’s uphill. Peach State has a 2400×100 grass runway and this was my first time to the airport. However, there was traffic in the pattern for 31, so I decided to fall in line. I carried just a little too much speed on final, which caused a little bounce on my landing, but we were able to set it down gently. My initial concern with the excess speed was the downhill landing. Then I remembered how quickly grass can slow down an airplane. And this runway was like one long speed bump, quickly absorbing what speed we did have at touch down.
We taxied up to the Barnstormers Grill and parked with some other planes that had stopped in for lunch. We were a little behind the crowd, which was nice. Both the service and the food were excellent. We got to see a few planes perform low passes and some aerobatics for the onlookers sitting outside at the restaurant. This was something that really excited my eight year old (and me too, to be honest). After eating our lunch, we briefly looked around the Candler Field Museum which is in the same building as the Grill. According to their website, “the Candler Field Museum was established to recreate the old Atlanta airport as it existed in the 1920’s and 1930’s.” We both had fun taking a lot of photos before heading back out to the plane.
We loaded up, taxied out and did a quick runup before we were once again on our way. After passing through Newnan once again, I handed over the controls to my son. His grin grew ear to ear as he flew the airplane momentarily. It was an awesome moment to share with him. I think I may have a future pilot on my hands! As we returned to Carrollton, we flew over his school and our house, where the rest of our family waved from the driveway as we continued on the way back to the airport. Although the landing at CTJ was a little off the center line, it was smoother than the hop we took at Peach State.
All in all, it was an absolutely incredible day. I flew my first passenger on my first $100 hamburger run to an airport I had never been to and had a blast doing it! This is why I became a pilot. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the many adventures I hope to have as a pilot. After hearing about our trip, my oldest son is ready to go somewhere with me. I know he’s looking forward to it, but not nearly as much as I am.