Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
― Leonardo da Vinci
As the trees blossom, the temperatures rise and the daylight hours expand, spring fever can hit and send you daydreaming about leaving the earth, seeking a temporary freedom from gravity, racing through the clouds and getting a little taste of the bird’s-eye view. That dream can turn into a reality fairly easily.
Murfreesboro Aviation owner Jim Gardner wants the community to know that his operation not only offers flying lessons, airplane rentals and maintenance, but also Discovery Flights. These brief excursions, generally lasting a half-hour or a full hour, give anyone the chance to take in a brief tour of Murfreesboro and the surrounding terrain from the sky.
Setting off on one of Murfreesboro Aviation’s Discovery Flights, a curious toddler climbs aboard a four-seater Piper Warrior as pilot Johnny Ross performs the pre-flight inspections on the aircraft.
After seat belts are fastened, he starts the engine. The pilot and passengers put on ear protection, complete the final checks and the Warrior taxis down to the end of the runway.
The youngster’s nose is pressed against the glass window as Ross gets radio permission to take off, throttles up the aircraft and begins down the runway. In the matter of a few seconds, the craft is airborne, and objects on the ground below are growing smaller and smaller.
The passengers take in the sights from above: MTSU, downtown Murfreesboro, Percy Priest Lake, the Nashville Superspeedway, the cars below looking smaller than ants creeping along the ground.
“How fast can this plane go?” the boy’s father asks a few minutes later as they are floating 1,500 feet above Rutherford County.
“Let’s find out,” Ross said, as he quickly gets the single-engine craft up to 120 knots (about 138 mph), and he says that top speed can vary by 10 knots or so depending on headwind or tailwind.
If this experience is something you, your friends or family have been lacking, you may want to considering scheduling one of these joyrides through the sky. Murfreesboro Aviation does offer aircraft maintenance and hangar service for those who own and fly their own airplane, as well as pilot training instruction. But while all that could take a significant financial investment, the business offers its Discovery Flights for those wanting to go up on a quick, affordable getaway.
Victor Huey, another of Murfreesboro Aviation’s experienced pilots, says he loves to fly and encourages anyone looking to do something a little different to try out a Discovery Flight.
Huey, who says he has been flying since he was 3, began his pilot training in 2007.
Once he caught the airplane bug, it was hard for him to shake it. He says he is now more comfortable behind the controls of a plane than a car.
“I’ll be driving down the highway (in a car) and realize I am driving down the center line, speeding up like I’m about to take off,” Huey said, after pointing out a secluded grass airstrip to his aircraft passengers, and explaining how to set the trim in a Cessna 172.
Huey and the whole Murfreesboro Aviation crew invite anyone interested to schedule a time to fly, and whether the scenery is of fireworks in downtown Nashville on the 4th of July, or of the hills, quarries and countryside surrounding Murfreesboro, he says there’s lots to take in.
To schedule a Discovery Flight, get more information on obtaining a pilot license or get answers to general aviation questions, visit murfreesboroaviation.com or call (615) 494-1900.