Granted, I didn’t do it for very long. And I doubt I will be getting the opportunity to do it again any time soon. So no worries, the skies are safe :).
It was a small plane. 2 seater. One of the Cessna ones, I think. That’s about as much as I know about planes. Little wonder I didn’t get to fly it very long, ei?
So how did I get so lucky? One of my friends had just received his pilot license and he took me on a ride :). I’m not going to lie- I was scared! But my adventurous spirit got the better of me and I agreed to get on that plane. I figured if that was the way I went, then that was that. But of course, I said a very detailed prayer first, just in case …
Jeremy had wanted to be a pilot from when he was a little boy. So as the years went by, he gradually worked at it- taking breaks here and there, but in the end it happened. By working at airports, going along on rides when he could, taking lessons as he could afford them (trust me, they’re really expensive), studying really hard, passing all the exams, getting his required flight hours, practicing a lot, doing the required numbers of takeoffs and landings, etc. and this is just what I know/ what he told me. There was probably a lot of additional things that went into it.
So when he finally got his license, I was super happy for him. Talk about dreams coming true! We also had a deal that when he got his license he would take me on a plane ride.
On the day, he did his best to put me at ease- the safety pre flight check probably took him twice as long just because I was super nervous and probably doing a terrible job of hiding it. Talk about heart racing …
He gave me a fancy headset so we would communicate in flight. I thought it was the coolest thing. I felt like a real pilot. He explained all the important buttons and switches and levers. And I pretended to understand. All I kept thinking was – this could be the end. Lol. So anyway, he started the plane, that went well. Taxied. That went well. And then we took off. We were off! In the sky! Woohoo!! I felt like an astronaut after a successful rocket launch. Or how I imagined I would feel in said situation.
After we leveled off, I was more at ease. It was beautiful weather, clear skies. So I was able to see everything. We got to see tons of windmills- a very pretty view from up top and a gorgeous sunset (from the rear windows).
Then the moment of truth. He asked me if I wanted to fly the plane for a bit. My heart rate automatically went up again. I thought he must be crazy to trust me like that. But again. That #yolo juice kicked in. The adventurous spirit. How bad could it be? I was already up in the sky. When would the opportunity come again? So I took over. For about a minute, I think, but it felt like forever. This dude even tried to have a conversation with me while I was flying the plane. I heard nothing he said- I was concentrating on not crashing the plane. Haha.
It wasn’t so bad though. He did all the hard work. He even encouraged me to turn and do maneuvers and stuff- I was like “No way, Jose!”
He also worked the radio and communicated with the nearby airport. I think to just tell them we were in the space and would be there for some time and where we were going, etc. He used all these special codes and stuff. Quite impressive!
When it was sufficiently dark, we were able to see all the tiny city lights. It was a really beautiful sight to behold. It was definitely a unique experience that I will never forget. The landing also went without a hitch. We made it safely back to land and parked the plane neatly.
Maybe next time, if there is a next time, I will be braver and actually do turns and dips and flips. Just like the movies. We’ll see :).
Header photo: The view from the sky-nose of plane in foreground by O Thomas, May 2013.