On Saturday I went to take a free flight through the Young Eagles organization, which offers a free flight to people under 17. I went up in a small, four-seater plane which belonged to, and was being flown by a family friend. I was amazed by how high-tech it was. It even had a parachute that could carry the plane back to the ground if there was an engine failure – pretty cool, huh? It definitely made me feel pretty safe!
When we’d been up in the air for about 5 minutes or so, when the pilot, AJ, turned to me and told me to put my hand on the yoke (the equivalent of the steering wheel on a car). After a couple seconds he said “it’s your plane, now!” and I realized that he wasn’t flying – I was! It was an amazing moment. It’s hard to pin down the exact emotions that I was feeling at that moment but they included fear, exhilaration, happiness, confidence and freedom. I wasn’t flying for more than two minutes, but in a way, it felt much longer. I really felt like I was floating, above the clouds, above everything that is familiar to me. It was my first time flying a plane, but I felt like I’ve been preparing for this my whole life. When AJ told me to give me his plane back (Haha!) I took a deep breath and accepted the fact that my life had forever changed. I’ve entered a new world now. I’m the same person, only happier and with the most confidence I’ve ever had. I’ve done something I never thought I could do and now I feel like I can do anything!
I feel as though something inside me has started to heal. Something deep that always told me I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t have enough strength, guts or will to do what I wanted to do. That has changed. I have realized just how big this world is and how much there still is for me to explore. The problems that I have, though they are important, aren’t what defines me. I realize that now. When I look at myself in the mirror, I no longer see those problems – I see room for improvement. It’s amazing that something like flying a plane can make that much of a change in your life. Now there’s my pre-flight life and post-flight life and I love how the post-flight life is looking!
A couple days ago I told my grandfather, Pop, about how I had flown. He was a pilot during WWII and I knew he would be excited to know about my experience. He was so happy! He started talking about his experiences. He told me how after his first solo flight he felt like now that he had flown a plane, he could do anything (sound familiar?). I told him that I felt the same way and he told me not to let it go to my head – haha! He encouraged me to work hard and get my pilot’s licence, which I’ve always planned on. I would be a fourth generation pilot!
Flying is something I will never forget. This was the first time I’ve flown a plane, but it certainly won’t be the last!!