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Looking at Cynthiana from heaven’s angle

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By Becky Barnes

Cynthiana never looked so beautiful.

I’ve seen Cynthiana from the air before. I’ve been in the passenger seat of small planes that took off and landed at our own airstrip with the capable pilots of first, Reed Anderson many years ago, then Doug Coy, and Jim Wornall. I’ve also flown with Richard Colvin from the Pendleton County airport.

But nothing had prepared me for breathtaking  sights to be seen from the backseat of an ultralight.

Last Friday, opening night of the new Harrison County sports complex, I found myself in need of a photograph from heaven’s angle.

Like many Harrison Countians, I have marveled at the brightly colored motorized parachute being piloted above for several years.

The man in the pilot’s seat is Steve Snapp, whom many may remember from the Flood of 1997 with his hovercraft used in countless rescue operations. I rode with Steve then to document the devastation, but Friday’s ride was a vast contrast to the ugly trail of destruction.

I was at first apprehensive, but excited, nonetheless.

Steve’s son Austin innocently added to that by proclaiming that the landing would be “a little bumpy.”

Oh, great, I thought, feeling my stomach rise into my throat.

Steve expertly laid the parachute out, declining my offer of assistance.

“A good pilot will never accept help,” Steve said. “When you do, you might forget something.”

And, Steve is a good pilot, having logged hundreds of hours in both an airplane and his ultralight, the latter he has been piloting since 1988.

With camera secured tightly around my neck, Steve directed me to the perch that was to provide my bird’s eye view of Cynthiana.

Ear plugs, seat belt... and hold on!

We plodded across the grass strip and then lifted toward blue skies. It wasn’t until the craft leveled off that I fully appreciated the view. There before me was vast green fields, an unusual sight for this time of year, but one that was made possible by the rainy summer.

We skirted the limits of Cynthiana, allowing the camera’s lens to reach some of the headline-grabbing sights.

I took nearly 100 photographs, but still I caught myself just breathing in the beauty and forgetting that I was up there to take pictures.

I got my shots and we headed for the grass landing strip. Austin’s words were very close in my mind as we made the approach.

“This is going to be bumpy. Just a little bumpy,” I silently chanted.

And, then, we were on the ground.

Much to my surprise, the “bumpy” was no more so than the ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle as it passes over some of Harrison County’s pitted and pot-holed highways.

In the coming weeks, you may be treated to some of the photographs that my lens was able to capture. We tried to hit the spots that either have been or will be in the headlines.

Thanks to Steve, you will have a different angle.