SCOTTSBLUFF — The view from above is often peaceful and relaxing, which is what attracts individuals to become pilots.
Tim Gieschen has been flying for many years and relishes the opportunity to soar in his 1972 AA-1A Grumman American Yankee plane. Each year, Gieschen takes flight during Airport Appreciation Day to let youngsters have a chance to fly in red, with white stripping plane.
The two seater is all metal with a low wing and tricycle landing gear. It was in production from 1968-1978. Only 470 aircraft were produced.
Gieschen pulls his plane from the hangar and begins the many checks he must perform before he can safely take the plane down the runway and into the sky.
As he climbs in altitude to nearly 1,000 feet, Gieschen points out the landmarks one can see from the air and explains how you can get a different perspective of the world when you can see it all at once. The depth and breadth of Scotts Bluff Monument evokes an understanding of how difficult the journey past it was for emigrants along the Oregon Trail. The cities of Scottsbluff, Terrytown and Gering rest in its looming shadow.
Gieschen turns his plane around for a better look at the Western Sugar factory and the Western Nebraska Regional Airport. They appear as small models from high up, but also display the enormity of the space each business requires to operate.
Although Gieschen has a commercial license, he doesn’t foresee himself ever taking off to one of the bigger operations.
“I was born 20 years too early,” he said. “Right now is a pilot’s market and pilots are in demand.”
Flying has been a passion of his for many years.
“It has been my respite, my hobby, my obsession,” he said.
As Gieschen checks his instruments, he gets on the radio to let the airport and other pilots nearby he will be landing soon. As he touches down, he will travel 1,065 feet, or three football field lengths, the distance required to land. He travels along the taxiway and returns to the hangar. Gieschen pushes his aircraft back into the hangar where it will wait until he needs another trip to the sky for respite from a busy world.