A family adventure in a Cessna 170a 1951

A family adventure in a Cessna 170a 1951

I’ve spent many hours listening to Joe tell me about his fun trips he had in his Cessna 170, either by himself, with friends, his family or his youngest boy who himself became a pilot. Joe had a life full of adventures, and I always enjoyed his stories. He usually has a humorous way of telling them.

3 of Joe’s sons with the family airplane. FYRT had a different paint back then.

For sure these stories inspired me to do the same with my family. I bought a Cessna 150 in 2015, and did one camping trip with it at Casey, Québec, with my son. But unfortunately, although a nice airplane to fly, it is only a two-seater. The dream of taking my husband and two kids on similar camping adventures as Joe had done was still on my mind.

I came in later in life with this (overwhelming) passion for flying. I was 32 years old when I started my private pilot licence. Last night, I was chatting with my 11 years old daughter, and she simply couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t a pilot. For her, I’ve always loved airplane, been a pilot. She went through phases where she said she would be a pilot and a farmer, but this has faded. Hopefully it will come back someday. No pressure, just a lot of exposure!

Joe’s kids in FYRT.
My husband and kids a few minutes before our departure out of Rockcliffe in July 2019.

At the end of spring 2019, I started passing the word around my friends and acquaintances that I was looking to borrow a Cessna 172 to take my family on a vacation trip. About 10 hours of flying in total was planned. As a renter, you think that there are a lot of airplanes sitting quietly at your local airport therefore maybe some of these owners must be eager for an opportunity to make some money renting it out to strangers. But the truth is that an airplane becomes something very personal for many individual and it cost a whole lot to maintain it, and it hurts when it’s being damaged. Sure there are insurance that will pay for it, but sometime you will be handed a check not a repaired airplane, and then it is up to you to find another one which is not as easy as buying a car. Meanwhile, you won’t have an airplane to feel the joy of flying freely in the sky!

All this being said, I was overjoyed when Joe replied back that he would be willing to let me use his Cessna 170a! I couldn’t find a Cessna 172 owner to agree to let me use their airplane, but I found way better – a taildragger and my favorite airplane too!

FYRT has been in the Scoles family since 1969 and have seen a lot of flying hours. It was rebuilt and flew again for the first time on March 11, 1970. Lots of good memories have been built with it. I have heard some of those stories from Joe, and I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to do something similar with my own family. It felt very emotional.

To me, it was a great show of trust from Joe to let me fly his beloved airplane solo with my family.

Sharing my enthusiasm for flying on a daily basis for the couple past years with my kids and husband, they warmed up to the idea of a flying vacation and agreed happily to the suggestion of a week-long trip with an airplane. We made fun stops of a day or two at Bromont, Lac-à-la-tortue, Morrisburg and Iroquois before flying back to its home base at Ottawa-Rockcliffe. This story however is for another time.

Me and my family flying back home on the last day of our amazing flying adventure.

We had an amazing vacation that will be remembered forever. Kids will for sure never forget their summer 2019 vacation.

I already had the bug for flying when I met Joe, but he definitely expanded my horizon on all the fun and satisfying experiences that can be lived within general aviation. For that I’m very grateful. I think I’ve just begun to live through some of the adventures he made, and hope there’s way more to come. And who knows, maybe my kids will be follow in my footsteps?

Joe with his airplane at Iroquois, Ontario.

A huge thank you to Joe Scoles for everything.

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