VANDALIA – It all began with an thought. A feeling. A dream. A goal.
Megan Reed, 15, is a student at Tipp City High School with a goal of becoming an astronaut.
Reed began taking her first real steps toward that goal when she entered an essay contest, hosted by the Vectren Dayton Air Show. The contest is open to all area students and involves composing an essay about why the student wants to learn to fly and what flight means to them.
Reed, who will be a sophomore this fall, said that she was surprised to learn that she had won the competition and excited to learn that her dreams of becoming an astronaut would take flight with the legendary Sean D. Tucker.
National Aviation Hall of Fame enshrinee Sean Tucker is best known for his thrilling, high-energy, air show performances.Many don’t know that Tucker is also the Chairman of the Young Eagles program, begun by the Experimental Aircraft Association as well as aviation’s most enthusiastic cheerleader, passing on his passion for flying to future generations of aviators. Past chairmen of the program have included General Chuck Yeager, Cliff Robertson, and Harrison Ford. The EAA Young Eagles program is on the doorstep of flying their 2,000,000th flight this summer.
On Thursday morning, Reed arrived at the Dayton International Airport, along with a number of family members. Tucker and his crew greeted them warmly and gave Reed a walk-around of the Extra 300 they would be flying in, explaining what makes an airplane fly, and how the various control surfaces affect the aircraft in flight.
The teenager was fitted with a parachute and given a briefing on what to expect.
As a special treat, Reed’s mom, Sylvia, flew alongside in the photo plane.
Reed described her flight as “Absolutely amazing. I can’t even find the words. It was awesome!”
When asked what she plans to tell her friends when she returns to Tipp City, Reed replied, “I got to fly this summer.”
Tucker was thrilled with his latest die-hard fan, saying that she was great to fly with and already wanted to learn the intricacies of aerobatic maneuvers.
Miami County has a rich heritage of producing aviation legends. Piqua’s Don Gentile and Troy’s Nancy Currie are household names in aviation. Perhaps, a few years down the road, Tipp City will be able to add Megan Reed to that list.
Megan’s winning essay:
~The True Meaning of Flight~
I have only heard stories. The feel of the plane riding the air around you. The shaking and jostling as it fights against the wind to stay aloft. I lack even the experience of feeling the initial takeoff of a commercial flight. The entirety of my life I have aspired to become an astronaut, but even that started with a dream of flying through the clouds. After all, one cannot reach the stars without first topping the sky.
I can almost hear the whir of the propeller, the roar of the engine, the force of gravity pulling at me during takeoff; the sheer thought that I am no longer connected to the ground. I envy the countless pilots who put hours of flight in each day, soaring above the cares of the ground, until they are forced to land. In movies, plane scenes are always full of turns, dives, rolls, evasions, and the jarring thrill of speeding through the air. Watching, I can feel the pull of the plane, the sound overtakes me. I can’t wait for my first ride.
Each time I see it, my wish gets a little deeper, my chance a little slimmer, and my star a little farther. It is this opportunity, if only I take it, which brings me a little closer to my goal.