Earning Their Wings : Flying Across the Copper Country

Members of the Civil Air Patrol gathered with the students at the Houghton County Memorial Airport to put a week’s worth of training into motion. I was able to accompany Nikolai Gall on his flight along with one of the flight instructors, and I asked him what aspects of aircraft he wanted to learn more about.

“The operation of it, the inside of a plane. Coming into this, I didn’t know anything about how the system worked or how you steer.  I knew that there was the yoke but that’s all I knew,” Gall said.

But before anyone stepped into the plane, all the vitals needed to be checked.  Then after a quick fill up, the plane took off from the runway and looked down at the Keweenaw.  The plane took a scenic route through places like the shore of Lake Superior and right above the Houghton/Hancock area.

Gall admitted he was a little nervous at first, but came to enjoy the ride.

“I’m scared of heights so I was trying not to look out the window, even though to steer, you have to look out the window a little. But when he handed it over, it was fun. Terrifying fun,” he said.

A smooth landing brought an end to the flight but the impact of the experience was clearly felt by Gall.  He said the program really helped him learn about something he plans to use in the future.

“My parents are always crazy about ‘Oh we want to move here and there’ and some places there’s no roads to get to them.  So doing this, if we go to Alaska, we’ll probably have a bush plane up there,” he said.

Everyone was well aware the flight was schoolwork, but it doesn’t hurt to know that these students were treated to a great ride in the skies above the Copper Country.