Flyin’ the friendly skies…

I’m not quite sure when the desire came to me. I think I just woke up one day and decided-or maybe, realized-that I really wanted to learn to fly a plane. I love to fly. I’m the person who makes sure I have a window seat, especially during day flights when the sun is bright in the sky and I can look out and see the world with a bird’s eye view. I’m the one in your row taking dozens of pictures of the mountains or the ocean or even the clouds. I love the way the world looks from that perspective-from God’s perspective. So…learning to actually fly the plane seems like a natural progression to me. It seems to me that the pilot has the best view AND she’s in charge of deciding how we’re getting to the final destination. A huge responsibility, yeah. And also a huge thrill!

A little while ago, I won a contest hosted by one of the many travel/adventure groups I belong to, Bucket List Beasts (check them out-they do dope stuff!). As the winner of the contest (which involved getting the most likes on one of my travel pics on IG), I was the recipient of a gift certificate to Cloud 9 Living, a company that offers unique and memorable experiences as gifts. At the time, I was in Denver, CO and I decided to use my gift certificate for a flight lesson. My original thought was that I’d take my first flight in a tiny plane, but a helicopter lesson offered me more time in the sky, so that’s what I chose.

After a brief table-talk with my personal instructor, we climbed inside the body of the very compact Robinson R22. It was bright yellow and perfect for the sunny, clear December day. I was pretty ecstatic that most of my instruction would happen while actually in the air. Who wants to waste time on the ground when you can be in the sky?!?!

Being in Colorado I was hoping that our short flight lesson would take us over the mountains. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make that happen, but we did get very close. The pilot explained the controls to me one by one and slowly gave me complete control over the flight. I was quite surprised to find that the whole body of this powerful machine was controlled by one little T-shaped joystick. The slightest movement of the hand caused sharp turns, lifts, and drops that were nothing short of thrilling. Once we returned to the ground, my instructor told me that he felt very comfortable handing the controls over to me. Apparently, most people get up there and simply freeze. There was no freezing here folks!!  I had an absolute ball of a time.

Obviously, when you’re in control of a helicopter, there’s not much time for selfies and photos and sweeping panoramic shots. I got what I could and I’m happy to share it with you! I don’t generally refer to my “list” as a “bucket list”…but this was a “bucket list” item indeed. Perhaps I’ve found my new super-expensive hobby! 🙂

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