The Snyder Family

My good buddy Zack is very interested in aviation. Awhile back we were able to arrange to do some flying in West Virginia I flew to Pittsburgh for work, and extended the trip into the weekend. Zack drove up from Indiana and we hung out for the weekend and flew over some sights in WV. Since then Zack’s interest in aviation has increased. I told him if he wants to fly the helo with me, he better not delay, as I’ll probably stop flying the helo this fall or next spring and refocus back on fixed wing. Zack arranged a trip for him and his family out from Indiana. Zack’s parents live in the area still so he was able to make a nice outing of it.

I met them in the R-22 at Westminster airport. First up, the kids wanted to go for rides – and I was happy to accommodate. Victor negotiated with Violet to be the first passenger. When I take kids, I don’t like to take them far. I find it best to make the flight short, stay near the airport, and stay in sight of the parents. Parents feel more calm being able to see their kids. I feel better being in the airport environment. And, if a kid doesn’t like the flight we can end it quickly. All that said, I haven’t yet had a kid in the helicopter who did anything other than grin ear to ear and ask questions. Kids can be amazingly fearless and happy. Adults seem a lot quicker to be nervous about the experience!

You can see Victor is quite excited! All in all I gave rides to Victor, Violet, Margie, Zack, and Steve. It was a great intro for all. I wish I had more time for longer introductions, but I think all were thrilled.











Eastern shore R-22 with Steven

I knew my buddy Steven would enjoy a helicopter ride, so I had targeted making that happen for awhile. Unfortunately, weather and schedules kept interfering, but we were able to finally make it happen. I flew from Frederick and picked Steven up at KFME – Tipton. Tipton is inside the SFRA, and for helicopters sometimes we are too low for us to pick up Potomac on the radio properly. I’ve learned to call ahead before entering and to also get tower out of Frederick to assist with the entry rather than having to climb for clearance. A couple of the frequencies work better than others – so when I get a switch to a frequency that I know doesn’t work well down low, I just request to remain that frequency due to reception at that altitude. The controllers are very accommodating – helicopters down low don’t really register very high on their list of concerns.

I also have to give a shout out to the FBO folks at Tipton. They did an awesome job. They grabbed Steven and let me know where to meet them on the apron via unicom as I approached. They drove Steven out to meet me. It was a very painless process and very convenient. Excellent work from their staff.

Steven and I proceeded east bound over the bay to KESN – Easton and Sugar Buns cafe – one of my favorite airport food spots in the area. The return trip was a reciprocal of the flight out. Great day of flying!


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Helicopter Intro for my mum

Its been on my list for awhile to land the helo at the farm and give my mom a ride. My original plan was to do a tour of all the places we lived growing up – there were 7 farms from the time I was born until I left for college at 18. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do them all, I did however hit two of the biggest ones.So I grabbed the R22 from Frederick and landed on the front lawn. I grabbed a quick selfie, and Cristina grabbed a few photos of me getting my mom strapped in.




And then we were off!. I flew east from Littlestown PA, crossing south of Hanover PA. The first location on the tour was the farm we lived at while I was in high school. This was the closest to suburbia I ever lived, but it was also one of the best places we lived because I went to South Western High School. South West is one of the best public schools in the region, and its the school I claim as my alma mater. Of the 5 school districts I attended growing up, I only have only kept in touch with friends from two of these schools. Many of my closest friends today were made while living in Hanover PA.

The arrow shows our house, while the circle outlines the farm. The barns are still standing, although much of the area around has since been developed. The farm was formerly part of the Lana Lobell Standard-Bred farm – a huge farm in the Hanover area that had gone defunct some years earlier.


Next we flew over Codorus State Park (cleanest water in the State of PA) and Lake Marburg. Between my knob year and sophomore year at The Citadel, I came home and had a job renting boats at the marina here. One of the best jobs I ever had!



Then we flew over our farm in Brodbecks PA. This was the first farm my mother purchased. It was rough when she moved in, and she made it quite nice. I’m sad to say it has not been well maintained in the 27 years since she sold it. The only thing I can tell that has been improved is perhaps new roofs on some of the structures. Everything else looks like its gone completely uncared for. Sad – it was quite a cool little farm. I lived here from the age of 3 to 10 years old. This is the only other school district I count among my current, and lifelong friends. Susquehannock High School – Southern York County (neighbors the best school district – South Western) is another great school.


My buddy Dusty Wolfgang lives just around the corner from the farm – in fact the entrance to the farm is at the bend of the road between the Snyder and Wolfgang Estates. I’ve known Dusty since I was 3 years old – so thats 34 years now. My good buddy Zack Snyder’s parents moved to a home also located on this road. Their house, a log cabin I believe, is hard to photograph from a moving helicopter. (Note – my mother took all these photos!)


The last place we flew over before heading back was the house of Skip Hoover – Chad Hoover’s father. The rail road tracks / creek on the left of the photo are the dividing line between South Western School district where I went to high school, and Southern (Susquehannock) School district where I went to elementary school. Chad and I became really good friends in high school, and I wound up introducing him to some of my friends from elementary. Skip’s house is a quick bike ride from where I lived on the farm in Brodbecks. In fact, Dusty Wolfgang’s parents live on the other side of the tracks just a bit further down this road. Chad and I are still close friends – and he’s lent a hand here and there to this plane project. In fact – he’s done more for this project than anyone I know – from multiple assists in the building of the garage to the installation of the radiant heating system. Chad’s been a stand up guy. Dusty and I used to bike between each other’s houses – literally passing right in front of Chad’s house – not knowing years later we’d all get to know one another from my school district changes!


Between Dusty’s house, the old farm, and Chad’s place – there were a lot of good times growing up. We used to ride dirt bikes all over these fields – none of the farmers in the area cared much, and we had a blast.

And then we returned by the same route we came. Here is my mother’s current farm from the air. I started work on the RV on the garage on this property.



The horses barely took note of the R22 coming in. A few looked up, a few took off at a canter, but nothing crazy. You can never tell with horses when, or what, will spook them.


This was one of the best trips I’ve done in the helo. Getting my mum up for a ride, and the trip down memory lane was quite exceptional.