Those who know me, also know how obsessed I am about anything related to flying. I fly often, read airline blogs, visit frequent flier forums, listen to channel 9 on United (where you can hear the wonderful conversation between the pilots and the ATC), love looking for cheap airfares in my spare time. But I have always been a passive passenger, never got best seat on a bird. Well, until now.
To all fairness, it was this cute little two-seater aircraft, and the gentleman beside my did everything so that I could live to tell the tale. However, the thrill of seating at the control, observing the little details in action as the little bird took to the skies was itself an experience.I was even allowed to make a 180 degree turn once we were up there, of course under strict supervision. The light plane shook a bit as we took off, but otherwise it was a smooth, fun ride.
So what was this all about? I signed up for an half an hour flight simulator training, and half an hour flying lesson in Cleveland's lakeside Burke airport. It rained all week, but the weather was perfect, and after a little wait, I was adjusting my headphone and the seatbelts. And surprisingly, it did not look so complicated - the interactions with the controller sounded just like I am used to hearing on United's channel 9, the controls look familiar after the brief time at the simulator, and the cramped cockpit was not too uncomfortable either.
I wish I could say I learned a lot, or it gave me a better understanding of pilot;s job. Not really - nothing came as a surprise. Not that I would want to do this toy flight again. But like many things you want to do once in your lifetme, this was that type of an experience. Hard to describe why it was special, but it was indeed.