Friday, July 16, 2010

I flew a plane once

When I was at Ohio State I became interested in Aviation. I completed the written part of the pilots exam which means that I had 2 years to get my flight time in and become a licensed pilot. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond my control at the time, I didn't get the flight time in.

I did, however, get one hour of flight time in. My dad paid for it to show me what a waste of time it would be for me to be a pilot. (My parents wanted me to be a veterinarian) The lesson originated from the local airport in Logan, WV, in a place called Taplin. It was an interesting lesson because Taplin airport was a narrow flat space alongside the Guyandotte river right between two very steep mountains. The takeoff went smoothly as I glided along with the pilots help and then lifted up to climb over the mountain (it was either that or crash into the side of it).

I got to fly over my house at 1200 feet. I was surprised to see how small the house was in comparison to the church next door. I had no idea that the church was bigger than our house. We also flew over the park and the town of Logan and just generally spent an hour flying over the mountains of West Virginia. It was one of the most relaxing and exhilerating things I have ever done. (yes, I experienced both emotions at the same time).

Then I turned the plane back toward the airport to go home. Yes, I was flying it by myself. It's kind of like being a student driver, you have to drive, it's just that somebody is there supervising your every move. When we got back to the airport I assumed that the pilot would take over but he told me that I had done fine and he proceeded to explain how tricky the landing was going to be.

To land the plane you had to skim down the side of the mountain just barely over the tops of the trees. That was the only angle there was to land in the field. Since it was a short runway you had to start braking immediately once you landed. We started down the side of the mountain and he IMMEDIATELY took over. Apparently I would have killed us, he said. He was not laughing either.

I told him I was glad he was there. To be honest I was surprised that he wanted me to try the landing that soon anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed that lesson, but I never made it back for another one.

Life happens you know.

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