Wherein I fly like a bird

On Sunday I was minding my own business, playing with my computer. I get a phone call from Nick: “Carolyn’s sick, and I’ve already made plans to go flying with Ryan. You want to go instead? Meet me in 15 minutes.” Ryan is a coworker who recently acquired a pilot’s license.

I like to think of myself as a spontaneous person, and dropping what I was doing to go flying definitely fit the bill. I met Nick, we met Ryan, and we got in the plane. It’s a little Cessna, with 4 seats. Not the most comfortable of accommodations, but I was only paying $25 for the hour, so I shouldn’t have gotten first class treatment.

It was fun going through the preflight, putting on the headphones, listening to the airplane jargon, etc. Takeoff was fun, too. And then we were in the air, and I was trusting my life to a guy who had just gotten his pilot’s license and was flying a plane in good shape, but whose coincidence with a bird could render certain essential parts of the vehicle inoperable.

At 6000 feet I had better cell phone reception than I ever get in my apartment complex. The air was clear, the wind light, the sun bright, and the experience thrilling. After using Google Maps, it’s impossible to lose your bearings in the air, and I was able to pick out all kinds of landmarks. Then we did some fun “maneuvers” that included 60 degree banked turns at almost 2Gs. Without warning Ryan cut the throttle and dropped us a few hundred feet, rendering us temporarily weightless. The second time we had advanced notice and enjoyed it more. Nick got to fly a little bit. I was in the back seat, so I couldn’t but I didn’t mind. We flew really close to some windmills and had some turbulence, but otherwise it was a really good flight.

After exactly an hour we had a smooth landing. Flying is definitely fun, and I’ll be sure to get Ryan to take me up again.

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