As my family and I rode our bicycles up the hill from the ferry docks on Mackinac Island, MI, my daughter exclaimed her disappointment in our ride up this giant hill. Once we arrived at the Mackinac Island airport, my daughter, out of breath, told me, “Dad, if we’ve seen one airport, we’ve seen them all!” We hadn’t flown into Mackinac Island but arrived by the ferry from Mackinaw City, and I wanted to see the airport.
After she calmed down and apologized for being upset about the ride up the giant hill and her comment, it really had me thinking. She was absolutely right; if you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen them all, and how great is that?!
I do have a habit of dragging my kids to the airport of nearly every city we are in, just to check it out. I think for me, it’s the familiarity that comes with it.
We know that at all of these airports, we’re going to find a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) lobby with a pot of coffee on. Inside we’ll find the line guys running around working the airplanes coming in, and good for a fun conversation when they’re not busy.
In the back, we know we’re going to find the hard-working mechanics with their heads and hands inside a cowl, or under a dashboard or wing. We know they’re always up for a good conversation of the latest issue that may have them stumped as they work through it.
We know that outside, we’ll find a variety of 172s, Cherokees, Bonanzas, Mooneys, Cirrus and numerous other airplanes on the ramp. Maybe we’ll find some rarer airplanes as well, and some fun taildraggers or float planes hanging out. We also know with some of these airplanes we’ll find their pilots, eager to share stories of the airplane and adventures they’ve encountered.
As we stepped into the FBO at the Mackinac Island airport, I felt this familiarity wash over me, although I had never been here before. I felt like I was right at home, able to sit down, relax and enjoy a cup of coffee while watching the going-ons outside. Isn’t this an incredible aspect of our aviation community? No matter where we go, we know that we can find somewhere to feel right at home, because if you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen them all.
Justin Weninger, Chairman
North Dakota Aviation Association