Climb aboard Airship 103 with Chesapeake Forum

In the cockpit are airship pilots Hunter Harris, left, and Mike Fitzpatrick.

Hunter Harris describes himself as a farm boy from the Eastern Shore with a keen interest in things mechanical and anything aviation oriented.

An experienced airship pilot, Harris will share his adventures during a three-part virtual series beginning Monday, Sept. 21, and hosted by Chesapeake Forum.

From 1986 to 1995, Harris piloted blimps for McDonald’s, Sea World’s Shamu, Met Life’s Snoopy, and the Pink Floyd Airship that flew around the countryside promoting the Division Bell World Tour and was used for media coverage during the band’s concerts.

Harris has soared above major golf and tennis tournaments, NASCAR and Indy-car races, parades, Super Bowl, and World Series games, all while accumulating thousands of hours as one of only a handful of airship pilots.

“When you are flying an airship, you are flying a big bag of helium through the atmosphere that is affected by wind, sunlight, precipitation,” he said. “It’s a type of flying that requires much more situational awareness (than other types of aviation).”

“The series for Chesapeake Forum is all about my piloting experiences,” Harris said. “I want to explain and share the experience of something that is really unique.”

“This will be my third time teaching this class. I will use video that I created on the computer with stills and music and will stop at certain points to tell a story and answer questions before carrying on,” he said.

The three classes begin with a trip from Miami to the West Coast (with a side-excursion along the length of the Mississippi valley). From there participants will go from San Diego up the coast to British Columbia and finish with a repeat of last semester’s Montreal to Miami trip.

The course will be presented live on Zoom from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Mondays: Sept. 21, Oct. 12 and Nov. 9. The cost of all three classes is $15. For those who cannot attend the live course, recordings of the ZOOM sessions will be available after each class and may be purchased for viewing during the course registration. Register at www.chesapeakeforum.org.

Follow me on Twitter @connie_stardem.

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