Mike Creato, Vintage Biplane Pilot, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
It’s early at Katama Airfield, the largest (and one of the oldest) grass airfields in the country. Mike Creato, who’s been running Katama for the past 5 years, learned the ropes from his grandfather, who owned it for 40 years before selling it to the town of Edgartown and The Nature Conservancy. It’s one of the country’s few airfields where private pilots can taxi up to the beach to swim or fish; it’s also rich in rare wildlife. You can come here and have breakfast at the Right Fork Diner, or take a ride yourself. You climb 90 feet in a few seconds, peeling away from the field, the white-sand beach, ocean, ponds, and forests. Soon you hit 1,000 feet and there’s a farm below, silos, crops, and cows, and the shadow of the plane. “So many kids, they take a ride, and then come back two years later and show me their pilot’s licenses,” Mike says. “It lights a fire.” The sun glints off the wing as he takes the plane back down to the grass field by the sea.
Katama plains Airpark, 12 Herring Creek Road, Edgartown. 508-627-7677, 508-627-9018.