I’ve come to the museum for a bucket-list experience: the chance to soar through the sky in an open-cockpit biplane. The flights, which leave from the museum grounds and last from 15 to 30 minutes, sail above the rural landscape of southern Virginia Beach and the ocean. “We guarantee a breathtaking experience,” the museum’s website boasts.
Now, though, I’m wondering if it’s such a good idea.
I’ve never been a nervous flier. In fact, on commercial flights, I enjoy a bit of turbulence. But the idea of climbing through the atmosphere in a single-engine aircraft that looks lifted from a history book is starting to give me pause. If I’m honest, I must admit my knowledge of biplanes is limited, drawn mostly from childhood viewing of Peanuts cartoons starring Red Baron and Snoopy, who pretended his doghouse was a Sopwith Camel. In fact, when I first signed up for the flight, I was hoping I could be outfitted like the canine flying ace, adorned with a white scarf to trail in the breeze behind me.