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Feeling of flight.

Byline: Chelsea Deffenbacher The Register-Guard

COTTAGE GROVE - He's had a love for all things motorized since a very early age, especially airplanes.

When he hears an airplane overhead, he says, he can usually tell you what kind of plane it is.

So Saturday was a special day for Don Bridge, 64, of Eugene, as he made his way through the fourth annual Wings & Wheels vintage car and airplane show in Cottage Grove.

But there's one thing about Bridge that makes his talent for hearing planes a little more unusual: Bridge has been blind since birth.

That didn't stop him from taking a ride on a nostalgic biplane during the show, where his mouth dropped open as soon as they prepared for take-off and then a big smile took over his face.

"He's real fascinated with planes," said Jim Gerlat, Bridge's caregiver. "He can't see them so he loves hearing the motor and the freedom of being up in the air."

Gerlat, of Goshen, works with Bridge through the Oregon Supported Living Program.

Gerlat passed on taking the biplane ride, but helped Bridges get seated in the four-passenger and one-pilot plane. As soon as he was near the plane, Bridge asked questions about the color, the engine, the cockpit and more.

"He's flown with this guy before at another festival," Gerlat said. "He doesn't remember it, but he knows he loves it."

"This guy" is pilot Mike Carpentiero of Jefferson, who operates Nostalgic Warbird & Biplane Rides, a company that takes folks up in the sky in historical planes.

"It's one thing you should do before you die," Carpentiero said. "It's better than ziplining and roller coasters and all of that stuff."

The plane on Saturday was a 1930 New Standard plane, named Stanley. Flights are $80 per passenger and four can go at a time.

Stanley was just one of many planes featured at The Wings & Wheels show, at the Oregon Aviation Historical Museum on Jim Wright Road in Cottage Grove.

Vintage cars, bicycles and motorcycles were also at the event.

The cars ranged from 1930s Fords, a 1966 Austin-Healey, a 1959 Mercedes-Benz and a 1963 Chevy Nova, to name a few.

Admission to the event went to support the Oregon Aviation Historical Society.

If you missed your chance to ride in a biplane Saturday but want the experience, Carpentiero offers private rides and will be at the Cottage Grove Stearman Fly-in event the first weekend of August, another Oregon Aviation Historical Society event at the same location.

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Title Annotation:Local News
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jun 25, 2017
Words:417
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