Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Flying Into Isla Grande
A doctor accomplishes a childhood dream
As a child, I was lucky enough to ride some of the Caribair DC-3s to St. Thomas. I would sit by the window, where I could watch the radial engines as they started spinning slowly, and then faster, until with a big belch of blue smoke, they’d catch and roar to life. The whole plane would shake, and it felt like a giant beast had come to life as the rpm went up, the plane accelerated and we flew over my home. I always imagined what it would be like to fly in and out of that airport.
Life, however, went on: I pursued an education and a career as a physician, and began raising a family. But one of the great things about being a father is the adventure your children bring to your life. By that time, I was living in Irvington, N.Y., and my youngest son, Ryan, wanted to be a pilot. So we sent him off for flying lessons, and he did very well.
One day, he invited me along for one of his lessons. I was in the backseat when Ryan and his instructor made me an offer that changed my life: “Would you like to fly the airplane?” The next thing I knew, I was taking off, flying around and landing. I was hooked: I went on to obtain my license and an IFR rating.
Soon after I got my license, my family decided to vacation in Puerto Rico. All of the dreams of that little boy looking at those airplanes at Isla Grande came flooding back. I ordered the VFR chart for Puerto Rico and was amazed at how truly tiny the island was.
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Labels: Columns, Features, Journeys, People and Places, Travel, Pilot Talk, Flight I'll Never Forget