Ready for R&R

| May 25, 2011
Pilot Steve Koch.

Pilot Steve Koch.

You’ve undoubtedly heard it all before: Taking time for a bit of R&R makes us better employees, happier, healthier people and can do wonders for our relationships with loved ones. Yet more than one-third of Americans leave an average of three days of vacation time unused for a variety of reasons, including the desire to be known as a loyal employee, particularly in an unsteady job market, an overwhelming workload and ever-increasing costs.

So it should come as no surprise that daycations – one-day vacations spent in or near one’s home – are increasing in popularity.

Suzy Renfrow and her husband will take off the occasional day and spend it in downtown Louisville. “We walk and read all the historical sights signs, walk through the old hotels, chatting up the concierges to learn even more, take in a museum, eat lunch, walk by the river, look at the architecture and enjoy Louisville,” she said. Most often, such a day “trip” only costs about $30, but the experience is “priceless,” Renfrow said. “We usually finish off the day date with a cocktail at Prime (Lounge) or in the Seelbach (Hilton Hotel).”

BiplaneWhen Marcy Crabtree is looking for a quick ‘n’ close getaway, she heads to Brown County, Ind., a 90-mile drive from Louisville. The historic community has a rich arts culture and a gorgeous state park, fine dining hotspots and boutique shops.

Brian Lee Curl, on the other hand, prefers the “staycation” version of the daycation. The University of Louisville fan prefers to stay put and counts a match-up on the gridiron at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium as his perfect mini vacation.

Find it hard to relax when you spend time off in your own city? Try looking at it from a new perspective like The Voice-Tribune recently did, thanks to Capt. Steve Koch, owner of Classic Biplane Tours.

We started off at Bowman Field on an average weekday. After a bit of preflight preparation and photographs, we boarded the front portion of Koch’s aircraft, a modern version of the original 1935 Waco YMF. The open cockpit biplane soon took off into the partly-sunny skies and, suddenly, the day was extraordinary. So was our city.

LouisvilleKoch flew us all around, passing over some of the most notable landmarks and offering a spectacular view of the city that you just can’t get from the ground. We easily spoke to one another via headphones that are equipped with voice-activated microphones, though most of what we said were renditions of “Oooh!” “Ahh!” and “This is amazing!”

After asking our permission, Koch took us on a “thrill ride” that evoked a fit of laughter. No, we didn’t go upside down, but he did do enough maneuvering that we felt as if we’d been on an amusement park ride.

Back on the ground, we looked at the time. From our arrival at Bowman Field to the touchdown at the end of the flight, only a little over an hour had transpired, but we felt refreshed, energized and, once again a renewed love for Louisville. Now that’s a daycation.

Contact writer Angie Fenton at 502.551.2698 or

By The Numbers

  • Almost 1 in 4 Americans have no paid vacation and no paid holidays.
  • 34 percent of Americans usually do not take all of the vacation days they receive each year.
  • 37 percent of Americans work more than 40 hours per week
  • 1 in 5 adults have canceled a vacation because of work.
  • More than 30 percent of adults report having issues coping with work-related stress at some point during a vacation.
  • Women are more likely to feel guilty about taking time off from work (40 percent women vs. 29 percent men).
  • Employed adults in France receive an average of 38 days of vacation each year, compared to 13 days for U.S. employed adults and 26 days for employed adults in Great Britain.

Sources: Harris Interactive for and Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.

Classic Biplane Tours

Flight prices and paths vary; call for details.

What should I wear?
Anything you want. On hot days we recommend that you dress cool, such as shorts and T-shirt. The passenger cockpit is warm, so you won’t need a jacket unless the outside temperature is 55 degrees or less. Long dresses for the ladies is fine, but if you are wearing high heels, you may have a little difficulty climbing into the plane.

Can I take a camera?
Absolutely, and don’t forget to bring it. The only precaution is that you should use the wrist strap if equipped and not let the camera extend outside the cockpit. Otherwise someone on the ground may be taking pictures of you with your camera.

What if the weather is bad?
We will simply reschedule your flight, sometimes the same day or another day when it’s convenient for you.

Do I need to make a reservation? How far in advance?
All flights are by reservation only. Weekends are the busiest, so if you’re particular about the time you want to fly, we recommend booking a week in advance for weekend flights.

Do I need to arrive early for my flight?
We would like you to arrive about 15 minutes early. We schedule an additional 30 minutes to your flight time for you to take photos, ask questions and to brief you before the flight. The time spent on the ground before and after the flight is part of the whole experience, and we don’t want to rush you. So an early arrival will greatly assist us in staying on schedule.

When do you fly and what are your hours?
Our season begins mid-April and ends the end of November. This may vary somewhat depending on weather. We fly seven days a week during daylight hours.

Are there any age restrictions?
We’ve had passengers from age 2 to 90. If you are shorter than 5 feet we have a cushion for you to sit on so that you can see better. If you are shorter than 3 feet (well, you’re probably not reading this, but) we’ll have you sit on two or three cushions.

What are the size and weight restrictions for passengers?
We can carry a combined passenger weight of 450 pounds.

How safe is it?
Frankly, your drive to and from the airport will be more dangerous. The aircraft is maintained in a manner that far exceeds the FAA required annual and 100-hour inspections. Each pilot of this plane has over 30 accident-free years of professional flying experience. Each flight is conducted while in continuous radio communication and radar control with the tower at Louisville International Airport. But we still have time to talk to you too! We are proud of our perfect safety record; however, with any extreme activity, there is some element of risk. Passengers will be required to sign a waiver of liability prior to boarding.

Anything else?
A portion of each fare supports Agape Flights, an aviation ministry that flies supplies and missionaries to Haiti and Dominican Republic. (Koch, who volunteers with Agape Flights, took The Voice-Tribune on a ride-along to Haiti in late winter for a story we featured in February.)

A day-long vacation spent in or near one’s hometown.

Do a Daycation

Looking for ways to cut down on travel costs but still go on a mini-vacation of sorts? Check out this issue’s special Daycation Section for some suggestions. We also recommend contacting the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau at 502.584.2121, 1.800.626.5646 or

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Category: Cover Stories

About the Author (Author Profile)

Angie Fenton
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.

Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.

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