Meet Chris Nesin
Inspired by the author Rinker Buck, and his book "Flight of Passage", Chris Nesin purchased and restored the original Piper PA-11 that was used in the journey 48 years ago. Follow along right here as he retraces the flight of Rinker and Kern Buck across country in his own personal journey.
For Chris, the addiction to Cubs started in early 2000 when his good friend Jeff Russell decided to purchase a Piper J-3 Cub. Living in Maine he'd argued with Jeff for a faster, more versatile plane that could get places in the large expanse of Maine. Jeff insisted, “I've always wanted a Cub, now I'm getting one.”
“I'd always flown up high, did airwork, or cross country.” says Chris referring to his training to be a professional pilot. “My first cub ride and I was hooked.” adding “I still remember the reflection of the clouds in the perfectly still waters of Damariscotta Lake. The beauty of the land held so much more at 500 feet above the ground.”
Chris' "grin" after his first flight. "Lets go again!"
From then on he took to Cub flying. “I couldn't get him out of the damn thing.” Jeff Russell says. “I had days worth of training and in two hours Chris was flying it like he wore the plane.” A few weeks later, Jeff gave him a copy of the book Flight of Passage.
“I don't read books.” Chris insisted. “You'll read this one.”
Chris read the book in 5 days. “For me that was a record. I couldn't put the book down. I found the story of the whole family dichotomy to be intriguing. Plus all the places out west that Rinker so vividly described in his book, I now wanted to see.” From then on Chris was a Cub addict.
In late 2000 Chris got his first professional job flying regional airline flights out of Bar Harbor Maine. “Never stop flying the small planes.” his friend and mentor Tim Hodgkins said. “You'll enjoy your job more.” This is something he has taken seriously throughout his professional career. He ended up purchasing the J-3 from Jeff and moving it with him from Job to job and location to location.
A fractional corporate pilot these days, he always takes time to stay taildragger current on his days off. “Many of the guys think I'm nuts.” He adds “When they find out I have to hand prop the plane or don't have a transponder, they think I'm suicidal." But he adds "They got a Harley, I got a Cub. They ain't that much different."
When there is no person to go with him, Chris takes his dog Lenny Bruce with him. Over the past 10 years Lenny has amassed about 450 hours in the piper cub. “Since 5 months of age, he has crawled into the front seat of the J-3 and enjoyed every bit of it” Chris says. “As we both have gotten older, I made sure the new plane had better and more comfortable seats for the both of us.” There may be an argument as to who gets to fly from which seat. (The PA-11 can be flown from either seat).
Chris and his wife April (and Lenny) currently reside in Chattanooga, TN.