For pilots to be interested in space and science fiction is only “logical,” but few of us personally experience the interface.
I met Chris Barton when he was executive director of the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.
He was intrigued by piloting, so we launched on local flying adventures. Even while savoring the controls, my friend was captivated by Meteor Crater and the unearthly volcanic landscape where Apollo astronauts trained for moon missions.
Our friendship and Chris’s flying were interrupted when he joined Florida’s Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra as executive director. So when he phoned recently about returning to Flagstaff for a concert, I offered to retrieve him from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport by Flying Carpet.
Navigating a Class B airport requires planning, but it’s always a kick. Phoenix controllers welcome light aircraft, and Cutter Aviation offers complimentary airline shuttles.
My first minutes with Chris were consumed by departure and taxi clearances. He oohed and ahhed as we swooped over futuristic clusters of docked jetliners on early turnout. Only after escaping congested airspace could I ask, “What’s new?”
“Actually, you won’t believe it!” exclaimed Chris…
**READ THE ENTIRE COLUMN, “STAR POWER“**
Top photo: Chris Barton (L) with Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander William Riker in Star Trek, The Next Generation.
Lower Photo: Star Trek: The Next Generation stars Michael Dorn (“Worf”) and Jonathan Frakes with Chris and Angela Barton and family.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2017 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!