All right readers, quite the interesting experience occurred to me the other day … I flew a plane. Right now you may be thinking hey congratulations upon receiving your pilot’s license, or oh, taking flying lessons … good for you. Well, truth be told, neither occurred. No, I dared to venture out with a friend who has a plane and he was kind (foolish enough) to let this fool handle the controls. For the record I now have thirty minutes of flight time under my belt.
The question started out simple enough – wow you have a plane? Next thing I knew I was invited to fly north (on a commercial airline) to meet and we would go for a fly around the city (NYC). The idea was to take a quick tour of the city, do a fly around the Statue of Liberty and then get a lunch in the Hamptons. Alright, I’m a bit adventurous, and I’ve never been to the Hamptons … I’m in! Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to buzz by old Lady Liberty .
Now I had to admit, I was a little nervous about flying solo with someone, who up until a few weeks ago, I didn’t even know could fly. Most of my friends advised me against it. My parents prayed for bad weather so we would be grounded and my wife, bless her, said if that’s what I really want to do, then go for it. Deep down I knew she wasn’t too crazy about the idea, but hey, you only go around this crazy world once and I knew I had some good life insurance, so what the heck. Plus, the guy I flew with had told me he took his kids out all the time, so how bad could it be?
I spent the early part of the day in the office and we left for the airport around eleven. When we arrived at the hanger I saw many different sizes of planes, but I didn’t see his. He mentioned his was parked it the hanger getting some work done. Ok, no problem, let’s go get it. We enter the hanger and there were a few smaller jets inside, not big, but comfortable, then he pointed to his. Now, it was a beautiful little plane, (that’s not his plane in the picture above, but it’s similar) but to call it the smart car of planes wouldn’t be a stretch.
He did a thorough inspection before takeoff and led me into the plane. Once inside he gave me a complete overview and answered any lingering questions I may have had. I did happen to ask what went wrong with JFK Jr. and why did I not need to be concerned about this happening to us. He indicated that what had happened to JFK Jr. was a perfect storm of bad coincidences, and apparently a case study in flight school, but assured me that I had no need to worry.
Well, he was right. What an adrenaline rush it was to takeoff. I never had an opportunity to view lift off from the pilot’s seat. Once we were cruising at five thousand feet he handed over control. We did some S turns along with some drops and climbs. I must of done well, because he let me fly for some time. It was exhilarating. It was amazing to fly over NYC to view the various sights in a different perspective.
One of the more interesting aspects of the flight was listening to the radio. They spoke so rapidly I had no idea how he had any clue as to what they were even saying, but luckily he did. I give him credit. We actually flew into Newark so I could catch my next flight home. It was a bit funny listening to the controller on the other end. I don’t think they expected us to land there. We had to repeat our intentions to land in Newark three times. I guess they didn’t want a runt like us entering their airspace, so they made us travel almost around the entire state of NJ before they let us land. Landing itself was almost effortless. He pointed out the landing strip and made a very smooth landing … kudos.
One interesting fact – are you like me and ever wondered what would happen if the plane lost power during flight? I was dumb enough to ask this question during flight, so he cut the power. Guess what? You glide. He said that you can actually glide a mile for every thousand feet you are in the air. Upon learning this fact, I no longer had a fear of flying. I guess they don’t just fall from the sky after all. Bottom line, would I ever do it again, you bet. Do I want to learn to fly? No, I’ll leave that to experts, but much like scuba diving, it’s a different world and one worth experiencing.