|The view from above|
In a Talking Heads song, one line always stuck with me: "I can swim, but I should fly." Now I know why.
My friend Christine and I, under the guidance of our instructor Bob Gardner, went up in a Cessna 172 today, on a discovery flight through Navy Annapolis Flight School out of Lee Airport in Edgewater, MD. Bob has been flying for over 30 years, since his brother got him hooked taking him up into the skies when he was a teenager. As he said, "I figured if he could do it, I could too," and so he's been flying for decades. He teaches through NAFC -- one of his former students was landing as we were taxing toward the runway -- and also runs charter flights.
To start, Bob and I were in the front at the controls and Christine (and her camera) in the back. After some seat adjustment so I could see over the dashboard, and checklist run-throughs to check the fuel, lights, radio, and so on, we were rolling in short order.
For those that remember my driving lessons, where each member of my family took me out precisely once, returning back pale, shaky and grayer of hair, my spacial relations in new machinery remains initially, umm, challenged. In the Cessna, I slowly taxied (weaved) down the runway using the foot pedals that steer left to right. Having (eventually) mastered driving a car so thoroughly, having a steering wheel in front of me that I, on the ground, ignored felt a wee bit unnatural. Having breaks at both feet, so that you can really dig both heels in, had its appeal though.
|Always choose the window seat|
We cruised up to about 3,000 feet, flying into a glorious sunny day, mostly calm, the hum of the motor and tower chatter filling our ears. My feet stayed off the pedals in the air (Bob took charge of that), but I got to handle the steering wheel and so kept us lined up with the horizon. As when sailing a boat, planes respond with a small lag time, the feel of which I never quite got synced up with, but I latched onto the general idea. Partly, I was distracted just gawking at the view.
|Go ahead, look down...when not flying the plane|
|Christine at the controls|
Back on the ground, we taxied back to our plane parking spot, engine off and officially land-bound again.
Our brief flight, an intro only, left me exuberant, and my stomach mildly unsettled (turbulence lurches? glee? hard to say).
Definitely, if I win the lottery, you'll see me taking to the friendly skies. And if my power ball number doesn't pop up, I may consider other scenarios to see how I could finance my private pilot's license.
|With the Cessna|