One Paved “Road”
Taking imaginations everywhere
JEFF OSTRANDER, EAA 866844
Icome from a place with one paved road. It is short and seldom traveled, surrounded by a sea of grass, now baking in the summer sun. Here and there a wildflower
emerges and opens its hopeful face to the sky. The wind
blows over it and, after a few days, it is gone. It is the way
of things, I know, to rise and to descend.
I know it better than most, for this sometimes lonely
place is a small-town airport, and locked inside the faded
barns are machines that long to rise. Even now, it seems to
me, they do not sleep, but wait.
They wait in shuttered darkness
and silence, longing to hear an
opening hangar door, to be
bathed in a suddenly widening
blaze of light. They wait, with
magic in their eager wings.
There is a picture in the
airport office, a faded snapshot
taken years ago from an
airplane passing overhead. The
office was in a smaller building
then, the runway shorter and
unpaved, and dozens of airplanes lined wing-to-wing stood
ready beside it. No one is moving, of course, but it somehow
seems that the whole scene is alive, waiting for you to look
away so it can resume its vibrant activity.
Most days, remembering that picture makes me sad, but
not today. The picture has come to life around me. It is a
warm Saturday morning in May, the fields of Michigan are
brown and ready for seed, and our airport is alive again.
The EAA Young Eagles program has introduced thousands
of families to the wonderful world of local airports and
hundreds of thousands of children to the magic of flight.
Today, it is our turn.
Outside, the small parking lot is full, and cars line
both sides of the airport drive. Inside, there is a roar
of voices, and faces fill every corner of the fixed-base
operator. Loving parents have come to give their kids a
memory. Excited children, anxious and maybe a little
On this day, it launched the
imaginations of 150 kids; it gave
them a new way to see the wonder
of creation and, perhaps for the first
time, to recognize how small and
blessed we are.
frightened, work their way through the registration line.
On the ramp, a dozen airplanes of all sizes and shapes
stand ready: Jack’s Super Cub, the old V-tail, Cherokees
and 172s, and an Apache. To the side, in static display,
an ambulance helicopter, a big corporate twin, and a
graceful Cirrus. And people, everywhere.
The members of our airport community are spread
throughout the crowd, doing the many things that must be
Volunteer pilots flew 150 Young Eagles in a dozen different aircraft
at Greenville Municipal Airport (6D6) on May 30, 2009.