First Flight

First flight occurred on Black friday, just after thanksgiving 2015. Initial preparations began at 06:30:


I asked my ground crew to arrive at 7AM.


My ground crew for the first flight consisted of my brother Steven, Greg Mitchell (volunteer rescue squad member), Dan Havens (rated private pilot familiar with Manassas airport), and Mark Gramann (good friend in town for Thanksgiving). My wife Rachel and 8 month old Zack were also present.


For gear, I wore my road rally racing fire suit, nomex socks, nomex hood/balaclava, work gloves (nomex ones hadn’t arrived), and regular tennis shoes. I carried a 1.3 lb. halon fire extinguisher, a small hatchet (to help if I needed to break the plexiglass window to extricate myself from the airplane), an aviation handheld radio, and smoke goggles in a duffel bag I strapped to the passenger seat.

Ground gear consisted of a 20 lb. chemical fire extinguisher, Greg’s fire axe, Greg’s rescue sawzall (used on car extractions for cutting A/B pillars), a hand held aviation radio, and a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

We performed a preflight briefing and I provided the crew with maps of the airport and surrounding area, local tower and ground frequencies, and a gate card to let in the local rescue squad if required. Greg contacted Manassas City Fire & Rescue and we learned that they knew how to access the airport perimeter and had a 3-5 minute estimated response time to the airport.



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