Learning to Fly in Arizona

Last month, David and Dax headed to Phoenix for the HDS Retail Show, where they introduced some American retailers to Red Canoe. But the fellas made time, of course, for a visit to the Deer Valley Airport, America’s busiest general aviation airport, with more than 400,000 takeoffs and landings per year. Could there be any better place for David to take his first flying lesson?

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Here’s David, standing in front of the Cessna Skyhawk 172 G-1000, moments before his first-ever flight in the pilot’s seat, showing not the slightest hint of nerves. Could that handsome summer flying jacket have anything to do with it?

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Here’s David at about five thousand feet, moments before telling Dax that he’s quitting Red Canoe to join the Air Force. (He quickly reversed this decision upon learning that he’d have to get a haircut.)

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The view from above: Lake Pleasant Regional Park

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Although the Grumman HU-16 Albatross – a heavy (12,500+ pounds) amphibious aircraft – was traditionally used for military purposes, this one, apparently, is used by its owner as an airborne RV. Why fill all that space with search-and-rescue gear when you could outfit it with plush sleeping quarters and a kitchen?

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David’s favourite part was the flying lesson. The highlight for Dax, however, came later, on this sun-drenched observation deck, where you can enjoy lunch as you watch an endless stream of takeoffs and landings.

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Above, a couple gems from the Phoenix Airport Museum. Up top, a flight manual offering a “simplified description of the forces in flight and detailed descriptions of the elementary and accuracy of maneuvers.” And below, a thunderbird – the Southwest Airways emblem from the 1940s. At that time, Southwest was America’s largest pilot training contractor.

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