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Up and Away

As we approach the dramatic sand cliffs with their sheer drop to the bay, I marvel once again that I could have sped by the entrance to this spectacle of nature thousands of times, never venturing from my Route 3 routine. My second thumbs-up as the White Cliffs Country Club comes into view is returned by the pilot with a boyish grin. The plateau of the 18th hole and its dramatic drop to the bay is a spot I will have to rediscover on foot.

As Sid salutes the family waving below on the beach with a jolly wing dip, I am sad we are banking in a U-turn towards home. Next time, I will book the longer ride up the canal, over the bridges, to the Elizabeth Islands, the beaches of Falmouth, the bays of Cotuit, and the seaside mansions of Osterville.

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

Photography by Dan Cutrona

For now, I am content to spot sights once unseen: the huge, geometric outlines of the Massachusetts Military Reservation along with the surprising array of woods, lakes, and ponds I had no idea existed on our supposedly overdeveloped Cape Cod.

By the time we reach home, the chug chug chug of the engine has worked its magic. I am pleasantly drowsy as the gentlest of bumps in a soft, green meadow signifies our landing. I don’t want this ride to come to an end. I am back to reality, but a changed one, with a deeper appreciation of what we have in Cape Cod. I renew my life’s promise to savor and save what is here, with the newfound knowledge that with a little lift in attitude and altitude from a grass airfield, I can visit it again.

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Centerville resident Sara Hoagland Hunter, is a frequent contributor to Cape Cod LIFE and the author of nine books for children, including her most recent, The Lighthouse Santa.

Love In The Air

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

Photography by Dan Cutrona

When chris isn’t ferrying passengers, he is busy towing banners behind the signature red biplane or one of two new Piper Cubs, either for advertisers or personalized message banners. In fact, the younger Siderwicz’s “Will You Marry Me?” banner is a much in-demand means of proposing. “I have the timing down perfectly,” says Chris. “I get there early, then wait about a minute away, then fly over just at the right moment.”

Glassblower Bryan Randa of Cataumet attests to Chris’s split-second timing, even under duress. Randa thought it would be the perfect way to surprise his girlfriend, Jess, at their favorite beach in Falmouth. He and Chris set up the flight based on weather reports, texting constantly on the day of the proposal. As the engagement ring burned a hole in his pocket, Randa pretended to relax on the beach while he waited to hear the buzz of the biplane—until Jess said she wanted to go for a swim.

“I had to think of ways to stall because I was afraid I’d lose the ring in the water,” Randa says. “I kept saying, ‘wait, wait a second,’ texting Chris to hurry up.”

Jess was just about to go in the water without him when the trusty red biplane appeared over the beach with the banner rippling behind it. While Jess looked up, Bryan knelt and pulled out the ring. Chris says he saw Bryan bend down on his knee while Jess looked up at the banner. “She cried a little bit,” says Bryan. She also said “yes.”

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