CINCINNATI - It is one of our area's most exclusive clubs and someone you know might have already joined. But it is certainly not for everyone.
The so-called "Mile High Club" is having sex on a plane. And one local air company provides the opportunity to do just that for Tri-State thrill-seekers. 9 News got an inside look at one of the area's best-kept and most controversial secrets.
It all began as a dare. A group of pilots gathered around a hangar at Cincinnati's Lunken Airport challenging one of their buddies that he couldn't get even one couple to pay to join the Mile High Club on his plane.
That was 21 years ago. Today, and thousands of customers later, these so called "flights of fancy" are nearly half of his business. But what happens behind the pilot's curtain, that's none of his business.
Sightseeing takes on a different meaning onboard those flights. Welcome to Cincinnati's Flamingo Air , where turbulence is expected.
"I have had a high heel in my ear once, been shot in the back of the head with a champagne cork, and thank God we wear headsets," said "Captain" Dave MacDonald. He is the co-president of Flamingo Air and pilots many of the flights. And those are just some of the stories the pilots are willing to share. But many others, as well as the mile high client list, will stay in the cockpit forever.
"What goes on behind the curtain is no concern of our ours. It is a matter of professionalism, our customers expect that. If I ever wrote a book it would be great," MacDonald said.
The company's mile-high offering is a booming business.
"We have done as many as eight [flights] in one day," said Sharon McGee, co-president of Flamingo Air and wife of MacDonald.
And they have a monopoly.
"We are the only ones in the entire United States," McGee said.
"Probably 90 percent of these [flights] that are booked, are booked by women," McGee said. "Sometimes they are trying to put a spark in their relationship, some are trying to save their marriage."
Kent Dobbins was the pilot for our flight.
"Everyone is aware of the mile high club, but few people know of the direct facilitation of it," said Dobbins, a retired ComAir pilot.
The plane used for the business is a Cherokee Six, and space is tight.
"People get creative," McDonald said.
The plane is so small that getting cozy is almost a must. At the center of the aircraft, a cushioned love seat, champagne glasses and a box of chocolates. The rest of the hour is up to you.
"We play up the romance, it is not the down and dirty let's have sex on an airplane, it is the romance of it, and that is why we get the champagne and chocolates," McGee said.
You can even set the flight path, with many mile-highers picking Tri-State landmarks to fly over.
Do you love the Reds? Hit a home run over Great American Ball Park. Is football more your thing? Score a touchdown above Paul Brown Stadium.
"If they want to fly over something we will point it out, but generally they are occupied with other things," Dobbins said.
The only thing separating you from the pilot is a small curtain and his discretion.
"He has no clue what is going on in the back because he has headsets, he is flying the airplane, he is talking to air traffic control," McGee said.
And as for Cincinnati's conservative reputation?
"Out there on the streets, boy we are conservative, but as soon as you close those doors, Katy bar the door," MacDonald said.
For one couple, a memory of a flight of fancy remained well after their one-hour flight was over.
"They had a wonderful time, that was in the summer if I remember, the next summer they brought a little guy by and said he was conceived in the airplane," McGee said.
Hour-long flights cost $425 and are most popular this time of the year as Valentine's Day gifts.
For more information on the Flamingo flights, go to http://www.flamingoair.net/mile-high-club-romantic-flights .
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