If anyone ever gives you the chance to do something that you will otherwise never have the opportunity in your lifetime to do again, do it. Check that box on your bucket list.
One such opportunity came for me last week. My friend is a pilot and he’d offered while we were in school to take me up in his four-seater propeller plane. I mean, first of all, how cool is that?! Kid has his own plane! Second, uh DUH I want to go! Well, needless to say I cashed in on that offer and had one of the most thrilling experiences of my summer.
Driving to the airport my heart was beating nearly out of my chest and I did for like one second say to myself, is this actually happening? You’re really gonna let your 22 yr old friend fly you around in the tiniest plane you’ve ever been in? Do you trust him to keep you safe? My answer to that was yes, 100%. So gone were my anxieties and away we flew.
My pilot next to his Cessna 172 Skyhawk, just to show you how tiny this plane really is.
Sitting right up there in the cockpit playing the co-pilot was insanely cool. My friend taught me about the controls, what he needed to do to gain altitude, drop down a bit, how to steer, control the nose, etc. Though I don’t like to consider myself bookish, I do tend to study everything. People, places. I commit them to memory. Before we took off, I was watching my friend, memorizing his movements. Everything was calculated, calm. It was pretty awesome seeing my friend in a totally different capacity than how I usually see him. However, as soon as we got into the air, I stopped studying. I just gave into the experience.
This plane ride was absolutely incredible. There really aren’t words to describe how I was feeling in that moment. It’s not like I’ve never flown before and was experiencing flying for the first time, but it was as if that was the case. It’s a whole new and exciting experience being first, in a plane this small, and second, up in the cockpit watching the magic happen. We’d make dips and quick turnarounds where the wings were closer to perpendicular to the ground than parallel, sometimes without much warning. But I wasn’t frightened at all, it was honestly quite freeing. I’ve never felt like a bird before on any of my plane rides, but in this moment, that’s exactly what I imagined a bird might feel like. It was freedom. It was bliss.
We flew over the Berkshire mountains, over lakes, through valleys. He pointed out all kinds of landmarks and buildings that we’d just driven past on the way to the airport, this time from an aerial view. His friend even managed to catch a picture of us up in the clouds from below.
He gave me the opportunity to take hold of the steering wheel, instructing me that to pull closer to me was up, pushing in was down, left and right were respectively so. I put my hands on the co-pilot wheel and he let go of his. It was the only time I felt fear the entire flight. I immediately retracted. I was going to leave that to the professional. One day if I ever get the chance to fly again, I’ll give it a go, but for now I was completely satisfied taking in the view.
I can honestly say that if he hadn’t offered this plane ride, it’s something I would never have had the opportunity to do in my lifetime. Sure, there’d be other plane rides, probably flying over some pretty cool places, but nothing will quite compare to having your friend share his love of flying with you, toting you around in his private plane and giving you the experience of a lifetime. Thank you Devin!