Buddy Bear Flying with the Birds!

Buddy Bear here:  I have often conversed with my feathered friends about their adventures above the treetops and so often have wondered what that must feel like. Today, I met pilot Marc Hightower, with Sky High Air Tours. He made this little cub’s dreams come true.

Momma Bear and I met Marc at the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Sevierville, TN. I was jumping with excitement when I saw the airplanes. I saw this blue plane with two wings.  That’s the one I flew in across Pigeon Forge.

It is important for all cubs to be outfitted in authentic flying gear and I felt pretty ‘cool’ with my leather helmet, silk scarf and flying goggles. Pilot Marc made sure that I was comfortable and provided cushions so I was high enough to see.  It was “thumb up” and time to roll.

Did you know the pilot of a bi-plane can’t see what is in front of him so they do zig-zags down the runway? The take-off was smooth and in a moment, I felt like my bird friends as we rose above the trees.

Once in the air, pilot Marc explained it was an authentic bi-plane manufactured by the WACO Aircraft Company in Troy, Ohio USA on July 12, 1927.  The N312DC has been restored to like new condition with a few upgrades.  The 1930 brakes were replace with a more efficient disc-brakes. The plane was originally equipped with a WW1 surplus V-8 water-cooled engine that weighed 400 pounds and put out only 90 horse power which was very hi-tec in the early 1900’s. After WW2 the plane was re-equipped with a 7 cylinder radial front facing engine which increased the horsepower to 220 at nearly the same weight.

We flew over some of my favorite places in Pigeon Forge. The roller coasters at Dollywood and “The Wheel” on The Island didn’t look so big from up here. We even saw the bright red roof of the Comedy Barn Theater one the parkway!

I closed my eyes for only a moment and imagine what it must be like to be a barnstormer from the past.  If this plane could speak, I would be first in line to listen to the stories.

Here is some advice from me, Buddy Bear: Go see pilot Marc and take flight with him at Sky High Air Tours. You will have a new perspective on Pigeon Forge, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Sevier County, Tennessee. Beyond the Great Smoky Mountains scenic beauty are light winds and make for great flying. I overheard Momma Bear telling pilot Marc she was bringing Papa Bear back because nothing says romance better than flying into the sunset in a vintage open cockpit airplane.

Call pilot Marc at Sky High Air Tours: 865- 742-2359 and arrange your 8 minute or 15 minute flight and well worth the fare to make a ‘beary’ special, once in a lifetime memory.

Blue Skies,

Buddy Bear

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