I recently got the fantastic opportunity to take my first-ever flight at the Darke County Airport in Versailles.
Gary Stull was my pilot. I got to ride in his smaller plane called a Vans RV.
“This is a Vans RV it’s called a kit-built airplane,” Stull said. “You can build this thing in your garage. We bought it after it was built, but anybody can buy the parts and put it together. That’s why it says experimental; that has to be posted as opposed to a certified airplane.”
Gary Stull has been a pilot for around 14 years now. He used to ride with his sons, who have pilot licenses but had an interest in learning to fly himself.
“I had interest, but I didn’t have a mission, I didn’t have a reason, I didn’t have the time, and I didn’t have the money,” Stull said. “I never intended to pursue it until my sons got together and got me my first lesson.”
Stull has planes primarily because of his business, Jcrane Inc. They fly people to crane jobs, and they fly to get parts.
That isn’t the only reason they have planes. Stull also does angel flights.
“I take people to appointments,” Stull said. “For instance, I’ll go to New York City and pick up a child and bring her back to Dayton Children’s. There’s a child in the Mansfield area that I’ll fly to Iowa City at the college for treatment. There’s a kid in Georgetown, Kentucky, Lexington Area, that I fly to Boston. He’s a heart patient; he’s had three heart surgeries and 19 catheterizations in Boston.”
Stull plans on being at the Fly-In on September 23 at the Darke County Airport. He’ll be there all morning with his plane out for people to see.
Stull shared that a lot of businesses use the Darke County Airport.
“There is a lot of local business that do use the airport,” Stull said. “Midmark, Greenville Ethanol plant, the guy who owns Rural King, he comes in sometimes. The Darke County Sheriff’s Department. This is about the time of the year they’ll be flying looking for marijuana in cornfields.”
Having never flown before, I was a little nervous. However, it was an absolutely wonderful experience with a wonderful pilot. I got to see everything around here from an entirely new view, and it was very cool.
“I just feel really blessed that I have a reason I can fly, and we can afford it,” Stull said. “So I like to share it with others.”
Thank you again, Gary!