Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Florida Air Tours - Best Birthday Ever!

I wanted to do something unusual for my 55th Birthday. Something more unusual than the crazy stuff I usually do each year. I blew a chance to fly in a WWII bomber once so I thought I would give that a try. Of course as with all lost chances, it was on the other side of the country this year. I learned long ago the only things I've regretted in life are the things I didn't do.


P1010236 Not willing to give up so easy I found something even better. A WWII, open cockpit Waco biplane. Even with my history of adventure I had to stop a second and consider if this was for me. Yep - Exactly One Second. Booked it without hesitation. The price is about the same if you have one or two riders so the biggest challenge was finding a co-pilot.

P1010215I have spent a lot of time in both Orlando and Cocoa Beach and every once in a while I've seen the Florida Air Tours planes circling overhead. I went Hot Air ballooning in Orlando a while back so I chose Cocoa as the destination for this flight.

When you click on the link the first thing you may notice, it's not exactly cheap. I would have opted for the aerobatic upgrade at a nominal additional cost but my travel partner would never have gotten in the plane. We found out after the flight about 50% of the people go all the way and many are return customers. There is little doubt I will be one of those.

P1010107So what is it like? Smooth. From take off to landing it was like floating.... with a really loud, hot,100 mile an hour wind just outside the windshield. I had no problem sticking my small camera outside the plane but my long lens cameras would have been useless.

P1010220One thing to be aware of, all the controls the pilot uses are within easy reach.... So DON'T TOUCH. Simple rule, easy to remember. That and the plane is made of fabric so don't break it getting in and out. No problem, just walk like a cat. After you memorize those safety tips, you get a really cool, WWII helmet and you hop right in. No kidding - There is no real big lead up. You park your car and 10 minutes later watch it get tiny from the air.

Our pilot was very laid back and having as great a day out as we were. Seemed like we all had fairly stressful jobs normally and what better way to relax than to jump in a vintage flying machine and cruise the beach. Granted he had a bit more to do but I think he enjoyed himself more as it was our first flight and he has hundreds under his belt.
The Pilot - Yes he sits in the back.

I managed to shoot a few videos as well. Hopefully they give give you a sense of the experience. 

Now I'm going to need a new friend to help split the cost of the aerobatic package so feel free to write me here at and lets see what we can work out. 

Take Off - Smooth as it looks

That's NASA down there. 


  1. Wow, what an experience! I didn't know the planes are made of fabric, now that's intriguing. I was thinking oh no, what if... never mind what if, I want to go up in a hot air balloon and they're made of fabric as well so no what if's allowed in my world! lol

    Enjoyed the photos and a very Happy belated birthday to you!

  2. I flew in a 4 person hot air balloon a few years ago that had crashed the day before. I asked the pilot about the black spots in the fabric and he said not to worry, it was a special high temperature duct tape. So Yes - I still flew in a hot air balloon held together with duct tape that almost failed to clear some power lines at launch. Got some good photos.