The Moment the airplane lost touch with the earth below, I felt gravity press against me, weighing heavy in my ultra tight pants, on the ultra leathery seat below me. Pedals moving under my feet thanks to my ever-experienced Captain carving out our path through the velvety thick air about ground control. He quickly responded to air traffic whilst sharply sending the vessel abruptly right while gaining altitude and velocity.
“Do not fight the controls”
He stated wryly as he glanced over to me, as I continued to shriek softly through the headset, enjoying every second with gleeful trepidation. Our plan was to head south, over the peninsula and across the ocean into the deep blue horizon-which must be kept at a third of the windscreen I am told repeatedly. I guess it is kind of important to be in the groove when you’re a few thousand feet off the ground. My captain continuously telling me to feel where I am in space at all times as we continued southward through the skies. My eyes glued out the window to our surroundings, being ever vigilant to oncoming sky traffic.
I understand now why this is quite possibly one of the most engaging activities to tackle. My feet are moving the pedals in various directions and pitches, my hands steadily and softly on the controls, gauges all speaking to me in languages I am not yet familiar with, and an entire three-dimensional space surrounding us we must pay all our attention to-all simultaneously. It reminds me much of playing squash in a way, the 3-D version of tennis as I like to think of it. My brain both loves it and is overwhelmed by all of it. Much like the thrill of learning to drive a car for the first time, filled with giddy trepidation and not really feeling super comfortable quite yet. Am I suddenly 16 again?
My seasoned pilot continued humming tips and tricks in between the short radio bursts back to air traffic control. The ocean below gleaming a spectacularly radiant deep blue, the sky a calm and clear crisp azure. We could not have been more fortunate with our timing with the weather as it had been raining steadily all week up until this point, and I was relieved for the break. As we glided closer to downtown I could hear the radio signal to watch for both an inbound and outbound sea plane. We climbed to 2500 feet and spotted the vessels as they made their way softly into, and out of the inner harbor. They looked like mere specks of birds, their wings outstretched, hugging the air as they landed and climbed through the skies.
Before handing over the controls to me, my captain asked if I would like to experience the not necessarily advantageous feeling of an off kilter “yaw”. Although hesitant, knowing full well my stomach is a gentle but savage beast when it comes to certain feelings I knew it would be an experience worth having so he all but cut the engine, grabbed the steering column and sent us careening downwards, sharply right. My hands rose up into the air as I gasped to feel how quickly and without hesitation things could go amiss. My instructor sagely knew this was pertinent in understanding the inherent and obvious risks to operating such a machine. He righted us just as my stomach tried to relocate itself to the inside of the cabin and handed me the controls.
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Time to live babes xo