Sitting in the cockpit of a plane last month, reporter Albert McKeon, right, gets a chance to take a flying lesson from Joe Johnsick, co-owner of , Harvest Aviation Services. McKeon took a flight around the New Boston area from Boire Field in Nashua.
...Sitting in the cockpit of a plane last month, reporter Albert McKeon, right, gets a chance to take a flying lesson from Joe Johnsick, co-owner of Harvest Aviation Services.
"The air and wind are your friend," pilot Joe Johnsick
said after a recent Thursday morning jaunt as we relaxed in the hanger office of Harvest Aviation Services
, the flight instruction business he
co-owns on Nashua's Boire Field.Johnsick
has a way of explaining the essentials of flight without seeming pedantic.For him it's all about relaxing and viewing the plane as an extension of you.
By extension, Johnsick
didn't mean the Warrior became a steel-and-fiberglass Boston Red Sox fan with me behind the controls.Rather, he
wanted me to feel how the plane obediently reacts to a pilot's movements much as Kermit the Frog responded to Jim Henson's hand.
For instance, Johnsick
wouldn't let me hold the yoke, a plane's steering wheel, with two hands.I had to keep one hand placed on the seat.
Several times, when our simple mission seemed precariously close to failure , at least from my viewpoint , I instinctively drew my right hand toward the yoke."Get that hand back there," Johnsick
would say through his
But, of course, that's why Johnsick
came along.For the sake of humanity on terra firma, no first-time pilot can take the air without an instructor.His
experience was apparent from the get-go.Instead of having me hold a checklist and review item by item the things that need checking before takeoff, Johnsick
walked me around the plane and gave a hands-on overview of the craft's vital functions.
I folded the flap on the wing as he
explained its role in providing thrust and drag, elements necessary for flight.I unscrewed the gas cap to check the fuel level.
Once in the plane, Johnsick
pulled out a laminated card and said "check" to every item on the list.
offered control of the plane."Where's my drink?"
Suddenly, I couldn't shake the thought that Johnsick
and I would become permanent markers in the boundless spoils of Hollis' preserved land. (From 2,500 feet in the sky, the town looks like a plate of broccoli.)
But without Johnsick's calming influence, I definitely would have tried out for a new role, that of parachutist.Occasionally, I shot the plane a bit over the half-mile elevation marker Johnsick wanted us to fly near, but he
kept gently reminding me to bring it down a notch , nothing a slight push of the yoke couldn't remedy.Johnsick
had the patience of a pastor.Sure enough, that's the 43-year-old's other gig; he leads Goffstown Harvest Christian Church.Johnsick
and Scott Wharem opened Harvest Aviation
nearly four years ago.
Typically, it takes a person 60-70 hours to be ready for the test, Johnsick
A lesson usually lasts 30-45 minutes, Johnsick
said."The brain can't take anymore.It's assimilating a lot of things," he
With more flight time, I won't blink at those 45-degree turns and will be ready for the roller-coaster trick that I declined, he
"Man, do I love the smell of that kerosene," Johnsick
said as we walked off the tarmac after our flight.