Countdown Clock

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#8 Fly a Plane -- CHECK!

The most beautiful dream that has haunted the heart of man since Icarus is today reality.
— Louis Bleriot

My dream of flying turned into reality when the Groupon for flying lessons flashed in my inbox. "WhooHooO!!" I love how the world of Groupon falls in line with my 12 Before 2012 plans. The same week, I also got Groupons for pole dancing and scuba diving (those adventures to be detailed in another blog entry). I was ecstatic. Yes! The bargain coupon gods have deemed me worthy of their favor. And what better day to risk my life (and the lives of my instructor and my fiance) than on the day of my birth. Also, what a great day to make skeptical Mr. Suit do what I want without argument since I could drop the line, "But it's my biiiirrrrrtttthhhday!!!" :)

So on a cloudy Sunday, June 12, 2011, Mr. Suit hesitantly creeps the car into the private charter plane parking lot of Open Air Flight Training in Gaithersburg, MD. We both see the dark clouds looming over the air strip. He gives me a wary look, yet I defiantly make my claim, "I am going to fly today! I'm not going to cancel!"

My flying instructor was great and was totally on the same wavelength as me. "Ok, we better get in the air before the storm comes our way." YEESSS!! We were going to fly! We quickly got over to the plane and did the initial pre-flight check...
 my plane!
cool. leather seats. so fancy. :)
 hmm... ok, does look like a bit of a storm... 
... and then the raindrops started to fall. DARN!! :P

We jump back into the golf cart that races us back to the office. "WHHHAAAA!!!!!" :( The rain began to pelt on us and I'm frowning the entire 500 yards back to the dryness of the indoors. Man, I knew I should have sang some sort of sun song -- "Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun... please shine down on me!" Our pilot did some checking on the flashing weather screens before him and said, "Looks like it'll pass right by us. Give it about 15 minutes." Mr. Suit's brows furrowed in doubt and I tilted my head in disbelief. No way. The rain sounded like hail out there! Yet lo and behold, fifteen minutes later while I was checking my schedule for the next available day I could make it out, the sun peeked out and teased us to come out and play. I will never doubt Joe the pilot again. Smiley face came back on, we hopped out the door, and I jumped into the plane. YEHAY!

Joe quickly told me what the buttons meant and then told me I just needed to pull back on the yoke (plane steering wheel). Huh?! No simulation, no test drive? Or fly? I'm going to take off RIGHT NOW?! So we were charging down the runway and I pulled back, and then there we were... FLYING!!  


Never stop being a kid. Never stop feeling and seeing and being excited with great things like air and engines and sounds of sunlight within you. Wear your little mask if you must to protect you from the world but if you let that kid disappear you are grown up and you are dead.
— Richard Bach, 'Nothing by Chance,' 1963.

Yeah, baby! I'm flying!

Joe explains to me how flying is pretty easy now with all the advancements in technology. I got to fly a N1740C C172SP- Nav III G1000- 2007 plane (which is practically equivalent to a car coming right off the lot in plane years!). It was sort of like playing a video game for a bit as we ascended since I couldn't see over the dashboard. :P But then when we aligned ourselves with the horizon, I could look over the top and the sides and actually see that we were a couple thousand feet in the air. COOL! The little headset things were pretty fun too. :)

We stayed in the air for about 30-40 minutes and then I got to land the plane back on the ground. Definitely a great experience and I'm proud that I finally got to check it off my list!

Ironically, Mr. Suit, the one that DIDN'T fly the plane, wants to get the flying lessons and a pilot license. He got the paperwork and everything. I, on the other hand, would rather sit in the passenger seat and relax while looking out the window. I am definitely looking forward to our next flight! :)

More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace mingled with an excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination.
— Wilbur Wright

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