“Uncle Carl’s Island,” Greg’s September column

A kid’s perspective on family flying

My son Austin and I recently enjoyed some rare quality time together, reminiscing about our many family flying adventures when he was growing up. Although Austin went on to a professional piloting career and his brother Hannis did not, I suspect both will long relish those memories.

I too grew up in a flying family. During my formative years my parents owned a twin-engine Cessna 310. In it, my dad chauffeured us on flying vacations to the Rocky Mountains, Caribbean islands, Canada, Mexico, and innumerable National Parks. We visited rodeos, Mt. Rushmore, the New York and Montreal World’s Fairs, countless scenic cities, and the Rockford Fly-in before it moved to Oshkosh. Most Saturdays, we flew somewhere for lunch.

At the time we kids didn’t view flying as novel – in fact one of us reportedly asked at the dinner table, “Do some families not have airplanes?” But it was indeed a big deal, as evidenced by the rich memories left behind.

Among our most-anticipated excursions was the annual journey from our Chicago home to “Uncle Carl’s island,” in the West Arm of Lake Nipissing, Ontario. My folks would load us into the airplane, arm us with games and books in futile efforts to forestall pestering and fighting, and launch across Lakes Michigan, Huron, and the Georgian Bay to Sudbury, Ontario.

Overflying all that water cast this journey as great overseas adventure, not to mention landing in Sudbury’s barren moonscape carved by gargantuan nickel mines. From there, we’d pile into Uncle Carl and Aunt Edna’s car for several hours, transfer to a boat at Trivet’s Marina, and navigate labyrinthine lake passages to the island…

Read the entire story in Greg’s September Flying Carpet column, “Uncle Carl’s Island.” (First appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

Photos: Top: Greg’s sisters prepare to board the family Cessna 310 at Granby, Colorado, after vacationing at the C-Lazy-U Ranch, 1966. Above right: Uncle Carl’s island, Lake Nipissing, Ontario. See more photos here.

©2012 Gregory N.Brown

If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

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