Flying the Friendly Skies



I’m flying to Indiana today – on my way to an Advanced Training Seminar for Home Video media specialists – and I’ve been racking my brain to remember my first plane ride. You’d think it would be a memorable event, no?

I’ve gone through my grade school days and I can’t remember being on a flight as a child. But in all fairness, my dad was a bombardier in WWII with 23 wartime missions over Germany. Perhaps he felt that was enough flying for anyone so he decided to drive his family everywhere we went. I can’t say that I blame him.

I was thinking perhaps maybe my first plane ride occurred during my college years. I do remember navigating myself to the Pittsburgh bus terminal in order to catch a bus ride home to Maryland for the holidays (not necessarily an experience I would choose to revisit) but I simply cannot recall ever taking to the air. Perhaps I couldn’t afford the plane ticket as an impoverished college kid.

Through process of elimination, I guess my first plane ride took place shortly after college when I was hired by World Courier Inc for their DC branch operation. They were based in New York and I remember flying up from DC to NYC to take a tour of their headquarters. I was instructed to board the Eastern Airlines shuttle which flew from Washington National Airport to LaGuardia Airport every hour. It was the closest the airline industry ever came to having a subway-type service.  It would have seemed appropriate to have handrails with leather straps for people who needed to stand in the aisle.

I also remember being extremely grateful when Dulles International Airport opened in the DC market. Flights from Washington National, upon takeoff or landing, needed to bank rather sharply to line up with the runway while avoiding structures. The first time I departed Dulles, which was constructed in the then sparsely populated area of Northern Virginia, I was delighted with a slow, smooth gradual incline into the skies. I never wanted to fly out of Washington National again.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit

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