In March 2011, Ryan got the chance of a lifetime - a ride in an A60+ airship, better known as the MetLife Snoopy Two blimp.  MetLife teamed up with the Believe in Tomorrow National Children's Foundation to provide children with life-threatening illnesses an unforgettable experience.  Ryan was allowed to bring one guest on his flight and I was honored to be his companion.

As we arrived at Ellington Airport, Snoopy Two was soon seen approaching with her current load of passengers.
  We watched Snoopy Two circle once and then descend. From the ground, the blimp looks gigantic.  When it lands in front of you, it’s even larger.  Landing, passenger unloading and boarding is a well-choreographed process that took no more than a few minutes. Several of the crew grabbed the mooring lines, while others held the gondola mostly steady and helped us board.   Captain Charlie Smith was our pilot.

Once we were all seated, had our headsets on (to protect our ears and allow us to talk to one another), Charlie took command of the pilot’s seat, the crew closed the gondola door and then gave the blimp a bounce off the ground and we lifted into the air.

For the next hour, we flew above the Bay and League City, about 20 miles southeast of Houston.  It was a flight of dreams, smooth, slow and close to the ground.  While we peered out the window at the sights below, we were just as often peering around the inside of the gondola. 

In an ultimate experience of show-and-tell, Charlie talked about the blimp anatomy, flight control and operations. Charlie even let Ryan work the elevator wheel that brought him further into the experience.  The elevator wheel sits between the two front seats and is used to adjust the nose of blimp up or down.

Our hour in the air passed much too quickly.  We just floated, looked, and enjoyed.  It was so relaxing.  Riding in a blimp, you experience so few of the sensations that you are accustomed in a plane to that it doesn’t even fit well under the heading “flying machine.”  It’s not really a machine, yet it is.  It doesn’t really fly, but it leaves the ground.  It’s so completely unique that all you can say is, “it’s like a magic carpet ride.”

We’d like to thank MetLife, Captain Charlie Smith and the entire Snoopy Two crew for hosting us. Getting to ride on a blimp is a rare treat and we will surely remember it as one of the greatest experiences of our lives.