In Waxhaw, where Rebecca spent her middle and high school years and her parents live currently, there is the JAARS center. Rebecca was apart of the youth group during high school. Rebecca's dad is very involved as a volunteer with the youth group (he started back when Rebecca joined) and in the kitchen currently. JAARS is the practical, day-to-day support that helps to make Bible translation possible. They provide transportation, media services, and information technology services for Wycliffe. We have visited JAARS before for to see the Alphabet Museum. Several times a year, the JAARS center opens itself up for what they call JAARS Day. It is an event that lets people see all the great work that they do. One of the things they do is to offer airplane and helicopter rides for a very reasonable fare. So for the boys' joint birthday gift this year, we took them to ride. All the kids, but especially Ezra, have been asking to fly in a "REAL plane" for a while. He also says, "Mom, I like my toy jets but I really want a real one." That is a whole other issue and we keep telling him that maybe one day he can learn to fly and will have that opportunity. In the meantime, the logistics and cost of taking our family of 7 on a commercial airplane ride just isn't happening. Going to JAARS was a much better option and it had the added benefit of hanging out with Grandma and Grandpa too. We told the kids about the rides just as we got in line that morning to buy our tickets. Boy, were they excited!
Irene didn't get to fly, but she had a fun time anyway.
Rebecca went with Gabe and Ezra in the helicopter.
Interestingly, they both chose to ride in the back and put Mom up front. She wasn't too unhappy about that.
Look closely and you can see Ezra in the back seat!
"There they go!" "Airplane!Airplane!"
"Here they come!"
Next it was time for the fixed-wing airplane. The plane they used is called a Helio and is perfectly suited for flying into and out of the jungles in Asia, Africa and South America. The very short takeoff and landing space needed allows them to land in some very tight spaces.
Olivia sat up front and acted as co-pilot
The boys chose, once again, to sit in the way back. I sat in the middle seats and was able to get shots of all the kids.
Ready for takeoff!
Look closely and you can see Rebecca with the littles.
The JAARS airport
Coming in for a landing.
They did a demonstration with the Helio when we were done and showed just how amazing the plane is. It takes off and lands withing 5 plane lengths. In a stiff breeze, the plane can go slow enough that it can come close to standing still relative to the ground!
At the end of the day, we ate lunch and then left with the boys asking over and over when we were coming back for another ride!. :)