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Up and Away

A Cape Codder climbs into a biplane’s cockpit and rediscovers her home from a fresh vantage point.

I climb cautiously onto the vintage fabric wing, having been warned by my tan, weathered pilot Chris “Sid” Siderwicz, to step lightly. Futilely trying to appear calm, cool, and collected as Sid gives me a hand, I straddle the cockpit door and slide awkwardly into the deep front seats of the biplane before Sid hands me a set of Amelia-Earhart-looking head gear. From the seat behind me, Sid says that since it will be too difficult to hear each other in flight, simple “thumbs up” communication will do.

As the engine revs and the wooden blades of the propeller start to spin, I reflect on Sid’s assurances that even for nervous passengers, the chug chug chug of the engine is soporifically soothing—“like when you take a crying baby for a ride in the car to get it to nap,” he says. I find that hard to believe as we proceed down the grass runway, my heart in my throat.

A Cape Codder climbs into a biplane's cockpit and rediscovers her home from a fresh vantage point.

Photography by Dan Cutrona

But we rise quickly, effortlessly. And over the course of 25 minutes, spectacular views reveal a new Cape Cod—more beautiful than the one I’ve known my whole life.

Like visitors and year-rounders, I’ve discovered hidden gems of our magnificent Cape while biking, boating, and beaching. But until you experience Cape Cod from the open cockpit of a biplane, save your superlatives. No better view exists of our exquisite and fragile paradise than the one I was afforded during this season’s maiden voyage of Cape Cod’s beloved touring biplane. In a given summer, close to 1,300 happy passengers make the same trip out of the quaint, picturesque Cape Cod Airfield in Marstons Mills—one of just three public grass air fields left in the state.

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