Has Team Wilbur created a new pilot?

April 12, 2010 by Ian Twombly
Motorweek's Steve Chupnick and the Fun to Fly Remos at First Flight Airport

Motorweek's Steve Chupnick and the Fun to Fly Remos at First Flight Airport

Along the way I’ve been trying to let Steve fly as much as he wants, and he’s not disappointing. So far I’ve been in the airplane for about 6.5 hours and have had my hands on the controls for about 0.5 of that. I flew through the SFRA corridor because being off by a mile means losing my certificate, and I flew the approach into Wilmington yesterday because we were being vectored. Obviously I’ve helped on the landings, but otherwise, Steve has been my autopilot.

And I have to say he’s a natural. After about half-an-hour he was within private pilot straight-and-level standards, and he seems to inherently understand what’s going on. But I’ve kept my hands close to the controls for every takeoff and landing, which means he’s probably never felt like he was actually doing those. So last night after we arrived in Dillon, we had enough light for one trip around the pattern. I put my hands in my lap, and off we went.
I talked him through the pattern, our first full one of the trip, and then rattled off speeds and controls commands on final. We flared a bit high, he brought it closer to the runway, and with that I put two fingers on the front of the stick to make sure we kept the nose off. We touched down with a soft plunk. He had flown a takeoff and about 90 percent of the landing. As soon as we got out he called his wife and excitedly told her what we had just done. It was a great moment, and I was happy to have been a part of it.
To seal his passion for aviation, I presented Steve with his first logbook in front of the marker where man first took flight at Kitty Hawk. Yeah, I laid it on thick, but I hope it’s enough to get him in the air for good.
Guest blogger Ian J. Twombly and Motor Week’s Steve Chupnick are Team Wilbur, traveling to Sun’n’Fun for AOPA’s Fun to Fly Road and Runway Rally.–Jill W. Tallman


2 Responses to “Has Team Wilbur created a new pilot?”

  1. Ron Potts Says:

    As some one who has not flown for over 35 years after growing up in Civil Air Patrol learning to fly and than learning again to fly GA why’ll in the Army, I do not think you could have found anyone better to express their experience, passion and excitement for flying during the rally than the members of Team Orville and Wilbur. Reading their blogs I could feel their excitement and remember how I felt when I flew. I know exactly how Steve felt when he was given his first log book. The rush you feel inside cannot be understood by anyone who has not experienced flight in a GA airplane. Congratulations to both teams.
    And to Steve, you’ll never forget that feeling of your first time at the controls. Never, give up the opportunity to fly because I can tell you if you ever stop flying, for what ever reason, there won’t be a day goes by your heart won’t ache and you won’t dream of being able to fly again. Once flying is in your heart and in your soul, it NEVER leaves.
    Good Luck and safe flight.

  2. Ken Pagurek Says:

    FYI, The Wright Brothers Memorial is in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Not in Kitty Hawk as stsated.

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