More than 30 years ago, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) taught his son Perry to fly in the family’s 1954 Grumman Tiger. Perry’s first cross-country flight after he soloed was to Oshkosh, his dad sitting proudly in the seat beside him.
Fast forward to this year’s Oshkosh and Inhofe, a regular at Oshkosh no matter what is going on in Washington, D.C., keeps looking at his watch. He’s waiting for the arrival of the family’s Grumman, this time piloted by his grandson, Cole, who soloed just three weeks before the big show. In the family tradition, Cole was taught to fly by his father at Riverside Airport in Tulsa.
“He’s flying up here in the same Grumman Tiger with his dad sitting next to him,” Inhofe said, unable to contain a smile.
“I’ve seen my dad fly in here for eight years straight,” Cole said. “This is the first time I actually got to fly into Oshkosh.”
Like so many things in life, trying to describe how he felt as he navigated the Oshkosh skies was difficult, the teenager said.
“You hear people talking about how much fun it is,” he said. “But when you do it the first time, it’s a feeling you can’t replicate.”
He said he thought it was going to be “cool,” but “that doesn’t even begin to compare to when you actually fly in.”
“It’s like the first time you ever tried dessert,” he said. “You just want to do it again.”
Cole plans to continue in the family tradition, earning his private pilot certificate, then adding on as many licenses and ratings as he can.
Looking farther into the future, he said he also plans to teach his son to fly in the same plane one day.