Ben Parker apologized for the view. I frankly have no idea why. The view was perfect.
I was a couple hundred feet in the air, hovering in a glass bubble, big silly grin on my face, snapping pictures. My joy must have been obvious.
For ten bucks, any old body can saunter into the Cirrus Aviation building at the McMinnville airport on a Saturday morning in spring, summer or fall and demand a helicopter ride. Weather permitting, Allison Trimble of Jerry Trimble Helicopters will take your money, give you a quick rundown of how to be safe and sensible and, frankly, how to stay out of the pilot Ben Parker’s way.
I showed up at 10 a.m. My son and I heard her spiel, he rode, I rode, we paid and were back in the car and headed to the McMinnville Public Market a giddy half hour later. My wallet was $20 lighter. My heart was tons lighter. So was his.
I love to fly. My granddad was a pilot. My dad flies. My little brother flies. I have a few dual hours in the cockpit of a Cessna, but I never finished my license. My son, however, was nervous. He’s never been in anything smaller than a big, commercial prop plane. No worries, there, though.
When Allison asked who wanted to go first, it didn’t take much prodding to get that kid on the runway.
While he was in the air, I asked what flying in Yamhill Valley is like. She’s of the opinion that this is a great area to be in the air, that it’s beautiful and user friendly and she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
And visitors fly here! She’s seen it happen. I never thought of such a thing, but the appeal is obvious. There are places to land a small bird all over the valley. Land at the McMinnville airport, and Cirrus will help you out with ground transportation.
It’s hard for me to imagine a finer weekend getaway: Fly into the valley, eat well, drink some wine and spend a night or two at a B&B.
Besides Allison’s company, there are a few others around available for tours and lessons. Konect Aviation flies out of the Mac airport and advertises romantic flights. Just in time for Valentine’s Day. Beats jewelry, in my humble opinion.