The Final Countdown 

It was finally here. The blood, sweat and tears from the past eighteen months had come down to this moment…the check ride. A day full of oral exams and flight maneuvers that separated the boys from the men who would be pilots.

I was so excited I even bought us matching shirts! Mine, of course, said Charlie while his said Maverick. Can you even be a pilot without loving the movie Top Gun? We already had to reschedule once because of weather, but this was it, it was going down (hopefully not the plane!).

I could hardly concentrate at work that day. I’m surprised I didn’t wear out my phone checking it every five minutes. Finally, that afternoon, the text came through…

HE WAS A PILOT!

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I’ll never forget the relief and pride I felt at that moment! I couldn’t believe that everything he had worked for and all the things we had talked about were finally going to happen. The freedom to be able to fly just the two of us…I was ready to just sit in the front of the airplane.

It was definitely a day to remember!

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Everything that glitters…is a town

One of my favorite adventures on my journey as Co-Pilot was our night flight. By now, I was an experienced Co-Pilot…and by experienced I mean I no longer felt the need to drink three shots of tequila before flying.  We arrived at the airport just as the sun was setting. It was already a breathtaking view from the ground, but nothing could have prepared me for the absolutely stunning view we had when we got up there.

We loaded up, me with my blanket in the backseat and him and his instructor up front. By the time we were ready to take off the last glimmer of sun was leaving the horizon. Our course was simple; take off and land a few times at our home airport then fly to a nearby town thirty miles away to do a few take offs and landings there before returning.

After we took off and started to climb, I watched mesmerized as the lights from the houses and street lamps began to twinkle like sprinkled stardust over our town. It was more than I could have ever imagined; and the best part was, the person I love was flying us over this magical scene.

Finishing in our town, we started our quest toward our next target. As we trekked through the inky blackness of night, the glistening lights became more and more sporadic the further we got away from town. I could hardly tear my eyes away from the window. Flying at night was definitely the way to go!

Before I realized it we were halfway to the the town we were headed too. I could look behind us and see our home and look ahead of us to see our destination. I will never forget that feeling…the realization of almost being in two places at once. If his instructor hadn’t been there I would definitely count it as one of the top ten romantic moments.

The flight itself was successful, but the feeling it gave me was way more than that. It reminded me that magical moments in every day life can occur…you just have to be willing to look for them.

 

Excuse me but your door is open…

My first flight was surreal to say the least. It was a perfect morning and though I was nervous, I was also ready to share this experience with him. It wasn’t too cold for autumn but we brought a blanket anyway (good thing to keep in the plane or your flight bag, by the way).

Before we got there he was “briefing” me on how it was going to go and what to expect. I would be wearing a headset that the pilots use to communicate with passengers in the plane, other pilots in our area and any towers that were in listening range. It might also be a little more bumpy than commercial flights so not to worry if it’s not as smooth as the commercial flights I was used too.

Braced with my information and sheer determination to enjoy this moment we loaded up in the tiny, four seater Cessna. I sat in the cramped yet cozy back seat while he sat in the pilots seat with his instructor by his side. I had full faith in my boyfriends flying abilities, but it still made me feel a little less nervous that we had an experienced pilot in there.

I watched as he went through his checklist, turning dials and checking things off. As we started to taxi out I noticed the instructor had his door ajar. I didn’t think much of it at first but as the seconds turned into minutes, I became more and more panicked when he still made no move to close and latch it. The further we got down the taxi-way the faster my heart started beating; my eyes riveted to the door that needed to be closed…NOW. I mean, this guy was the instructor right? I had horrible visions of taking off and the door swinging open from the pressure while we are all sucked out…or left in the plane as it plummets to the ground!

Finally, I could wait no more…I had to save us all! Interrupting what was probably an important conversation, I immediately blurted out that the door was still open.

“Yeah,” My boyfriend responds, “There isn’t air conditioning in here and we don’t like shutting the door until the last minute so we don’t get hot.” They both return to their pre-flight rundown as I slowly try to melt into the back seat.

Needless to say I didn’t speak anymore for the rest of the trip. But, other than feeling like a silly nincompoop, my first flight was absolutely amazing! The view was breathtaking and just the experience of watching him fly took my breath away!

Tiny, flying death box

When I first started dating my boyfriend he had just begun taking his pilot lessons. I wasn’t very involved other than to ask, “How was your flight?” and to request he text me before take off and after landing to make sure he didn’t pull a Goose on me. It had taken me a long time to find a great guy like him and I really didn’t want to have to start looking all over again.

When it first because real for me that he was going to be a Pilot was the day he did his first solo six months later. They actually took the shirt he was wearing during his solo, cut the back off and wrote his name and the date to commemorate the occasion. They called it his “tails”.

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I started to face the reality that we might actually fly somewhere…together…in that tiny, flying death box.

I hated flying.

Our first commercial flight together to Vegas I had cried when we experienced the slightest bit of turbulence. How was I going to not freak out when it was just me and him 5000 feet in the air?! To get myself used to the idea I began to go to the airport to watch him fly. I would park in the tiny parking lot of our small town airport, sit on the hood and watch him take off, fly around the pattern and land.

It was so impressive (and a complete turn on) that he could actually fly a plane that I was awestruck. I became more and more excited to fly with him and less scared about freaking out. Not to mention the doors it opens for travel opportunities. We could actually fly to the ocean for a long weekend at the beach! Heck yes! I was actually ready and couldn’t wait to go up with him for the very first time.