Flashback: I’m riding in the car with my family. Through the windows we see an old airplane sweeping across the sky, not a cloud or bird in sight. I hear a chuckle from my step dad in the driver’s seat. “Now there goes a happy guy,” he says.
A deep love and respect for aviation and airplanes has been pumping through my veins since I can remember. Almost my entire family has been involved in that world in some respect, whether you look at my dad, an aviation photographer, or my grandfather, who was an engineer for McDonnell Douglas. Even my sister and I, who swore we would branch out and do something different, have gotten drawn into professional jobs surrounding airplanes. Aviation has been one of the strongest, neatest bonds to experience in my family…it’s truly an interest that can span across generations and bring families together. My step dad recently passed away from leukemia, and I will always cherish that tie we shared.
My relationships with my family members have been enriched by this common interest. And the more involved I get with aviation, the more I realize just how many people are affected by it. Everyone dreams of flying when they’re a kid…airplanes make it possible. Their freedom and power strike a chord in all of us, no matter what age.
I feel like too few parents realize and expose their kids to the beauty and history behind airplanes, particularly old warbirds. To date, there are over 400 air shows in the US each year. Chances are there’s an air show near you, and a chance to introduce your kids to an important and enthralling part of history. It’s also a chance to give them something to share with other generations of their family.
Because aviation was such a huge part of my life growing up (and continues to be), it’s my hope that kids everywhere will be exposed to this wondrous world of flight. A company called Air Show Buzz (ASB.TV) has created a new animated series called “Mike DA Mustang” that is geared to get kids excited about airplanes and bringing back the thrill of flying to all ages.
“Mike DA Mustang” is an exciting and heartfelt look at the world of performance aviation. It follows the dysfunctional “family” of Mike, a P-51 Mustang, and his buddies at the airport. Mike, Buzz, Axel, Angel, Max and a host of other non-human characters give the viewer an insider view of life in the clouds—the lessons learned, the bonds formed, and the challenges faced. The dialogue is smart, the animation is great, and the lessons taught are fun and invaluable.
So please, take a few minutes to sit down with your kids and introduce them to the thrill and beauty of flight. It’s a pastime that has truly enriched my life, and I hope that it will do the same for all of you.
Blue skies, my friends.