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First aerobatic airplane ride incites thrill for aviation
by Savannah Weeks
October 18, 2012 03:22 PM | 1973 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Joe Livingston <br>
Pilot Kerry Tidmore with his stunt plane before a flight at Paulding County Airport.
Staff / Joe Livingston
Pilot Kerry Tidmore with his stunt plane before a flight at Paulding County Airport.
slideshow
Staff / Joe Livingston <br>
Savannah Weeks gets her parachute adjusted and fit by pilot Kerry Tidmore before their flight at Paulding County Airport.
Staff / Joe Livingston
Savannah Weeks gets her parachute adjusted and fit by pilot Kerry Tidmore before their flight at Paulding County Airport.
slideshow
Staff / Joe Livingston <br>
Weeks puts on her seatbelt and gets  flight instructions by Tidmore before takeoff.
Staff / Joe Livingston
Weeks puts on her seatbelt and gets flight instructions by Tidmore before takeoff.
slideshow
PAULDING 10.17.12 LSTYL ACCENT AIR 1
PAULDING 10.17.12 LSTYL ACCENT AIR 1
slideshow
“OK, so the only three things you have to remember are: unbuckle your seat belt, get out of the plane and pull the rip cord on the parachute,” said Kerry Tidmore, the Salute America Air Show air boss and former Air Force pilot, before we get in the two-person Citabria 1977 “beginner aerobatic” airplane.

I gulp, as I nestle into my seat in the tiny aircraft and furiously pray that I won’t have to use the parachute strapped onto my back during the short flight. FDA regulations, just precautions, he said.

Kerry gets in the plane and gives me the rundown on the controls, headsets and other aviation details. This was my first time flying in a small plane.

The roof of the plane is Plexiglas, so pilots have more visibility while doing loops, rolls and other aerobatic tricks. Some planes even have Plexiglas floors, according to my pilot.

Kerry starts up the motor and we both put our headsets on. We start to taxi. My palms have never been sweatier as a result of nerves and the heat inside the airplane from the engine.

The plane quickly gains speed and we ascend into the clear, blue sky. It’s a beautiful, breezy fall day, and the higher we climb in the air, the cooler it feels in the plane. My nerves calm as I stare down on the little airport we left.

Kerry directs us toward Rockmart, and points out the tiny town, as he informs me we are traveling at a rate of more than 100 miles per hour and 3,000 feet above the ground.

We soar over, under and through the billowy, white pockets of air. “This is what we call cloud-chasing,” Kerry said.

The air boss gently turns the plane around to the left, then to the right, as I watch the ground come up closer to the aircraft.

Then comes the “big” trick, which is actually small for experienced aerobatic pilots, the “aileron roll,” sometimes called a barrel roll.

I brace myself as the plane tilts to the left and keeps going. I look out the Plexiglas roof, first seeing sky, then trees and sky again. And just like that, it’s over, and we’re alive! Just as fast as I lost my stomach, I got it back again.

Now I understand the thrill of acrobatic planes, both viewing and riding.

The ride was spectacular, and just like Kerry told me I would be, I’m now “hooked” on small plane aviation.

If you go:

Paulding "Salute America" Air show

Where: Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport, 730 Airport Parkway, Dallas (about seven miles west of Dallas).

When: Saturday, Oct. 20.

Times: 9 a.m., gates open; 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., performances.

Scheduled performances:

>>3X Helo Demonstration by the

Sky Soldiers

>>F4U Corsair Demonstration by

Jim Tobul

>>Gary Rower and the Super

Stearman

>>Indy Boys Extreme Jet Vehicles

>>Misty Blues All Woman

Skydiving Team

>>Meet a Pilot

>>P-51 Demo by Steve Gustafson

>>Starjammer Aerobatic Act by

Elgin Wells

>>Team Aeroshell Aerobatics

>>Texan II by Hawker Beech

Information: (770) 505-7700 or visit www.pauldingairshow.net.

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