Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Broadcasting 1,500 Feet in the Air!

I've done a lot of remote broadcasts, meaning the business has us come out to talk about their product or event, and they are usually a good time because it gets you out of the studio, you're usually outside, and you get to hang out with listeners one-on-one. Well this past Sunday, I probably had the most fun ever doing one of those broadcasts!

The Tri-State Pilot's Association had us out for their annual Community Day and Fly In at the Lawrence County Airport in South Point. It was supposed to happen on Saturday, but Mother Nature had a different plan (she dumped about a foot of rain on the tri-state, which isn't good flying weather!).
It's a really cool deal -- they let people take plane rides, offer flying lessons, serve breakfast and lunch, and tell people about the Angel Flight (transports people who need medical attention to hospitals in cities like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland for free - free flight, fuel, everything!).

The broadcast started at 10 a.m., and I was already having a good day -- it was good to be up early, nice to be outside, and it was just a beautiful morning! It was also cool to talk about airplanes, pilots, and hang out at an airport!

Then, one of the members of the association, Nelson, asked if I wanted to go for a ride, and I was like "sure! Do you think I can get cell phone service, and I'll call-in to do one of the breaks from the air?" He said it shouldn't be a problem if we stay low.

So we took off in a Cessna 182 and were circling the tri-state in no time.

I even got to wear a cool headset with a microphone. It was neat hearing the pilot talk to people back at the airport and at air traffic control at the Huntington Tri-State Airport.

I made several phone calls to the Planet studio to make sure they could hear me, and to make sure I could hear them, and I was good to go! I had surprisingly great cell phone service -- full bars at 3G.

The flight was great. We stayed relatively low, between 1,500 and 1,800 feet just to stay close to a cell phone tower. Nelson thought it would be bumpy because we were low and it was windy on the ground, but it was fine.

We flew back in forth along the Ohio River up to Ironton and down to the 31st Street Bridge in Huntington. It was cool being up high, but still low enough to see your town! We were able to see the Big Sandy Superstore Arena, our station's building -- the Coal Exchange Building, the Pullman Plaza Hotel, and Pullman Square.

We even got a great view of the Marshall Football Stadium, Marshall's campus, and Cabell Huntington Hospital, and on down to Ashland, we saw the refineries at Ashland Oil.
Like I said, we were just doing big circles, and for the most part, I have a pretty strong stomach, but every now and then, when we would make a turn, my stomach would get a little queasy! I kept it together (I didn't want Nelson to think I was going to puke in his plane!).

Then, it was time to check in one final time to do the broadcast -- I had Josh, who was running things back in the studio, record the break so I could hear it and share it with my friends!

It was a simple break, just as if we were on the ground, but we were at 1,500 feet in the air! I just talked about everything that I could see just by turning my head, and told the listeners that they could do the same if they came down the Lawrence County Airport!

Then, it was time to head back to the ground. Nelson said the landing might be a little bumpy because of the wind on the ground. I think he was trying to make himself look cool because it was as smooth as it could be! He's a pro! No, really, he is a pro -- he gives advanced flight lessons, and has been flying for like 30 or 40 years!

As soon as we got back on the ground, which was about 11:20 a.m., there were a bunch of people at the airport ready to go for a ride just like me! Even a few people who had never been in a plane before! It really was awesome...

Thanks again to the Tri-State Pilot's Association for having us for their Community Day and Fly In-- we hope we can do it again next year!