13.6.14

Flying a (really) Small Plane Across the Cascades

Fun fact: I'm terrified of heights.
Although, let's be honest, that's one of those things nearly everyone says, making my admission hardly an admission at all.
Regardless, when the opportunity came up for me to fly cross-state in a tiny two-person plane, I didn't let my fear of heights stand in the way.
In fact, my reaction was more along the lines of "Say whaaaaaaat?! Awww yeeeuhhh!" (read that as least-embarrassingly as possible in your head, please) than it was to recoil into the fetal position on the floor and demand a car ride. 

Here's the back story: one of my (two) jobs required that I travel across Washington state for a three-day meeting on the other side. I could either drive over with my boss - about 6-hours one way - or I could fly over with our lobbyist who is a pilot and had access to his own plane. 
The catch?
I would be leaving for this meeting on my birthday.
Womp womp.
This could either be the best flight, or the worst flight, of my life (hyperboles 4 lyfe).
Well, seeing as I haven't been written into the sequel for Hatchet, let's assume that the fight was at least decent.
But, it wasn't just decent. It. Was. AWESOME. Seriously, one of the coolest birthdays ever. The flight went perfectly, the weather was sunny and beautiful, and I got loads of glorious photos of the trip (mind the window reflection).
Plus, our plane was adorable. I mean, just look at it - how could you not act like a kid to be able to fly in such a cute little thing?!


The best part of the entire experience isn't that I got to ride in a tiny little plane, though, it's that I GOT TO PILOT IT.
Yes, I got to 'drive' the plane. 
If you are a pilot, please don't cringe at my use of the term 'driving' in reference to flying a plane.
Well I mean, you can cringe, but just give me the benefit of the doubt (or something...).
Anyways, about halfway through the trip, the pilot turned to me and said "So, do you want to fly it for a bit?"
I'm sure the look on my face must have been a cross between disbelief, panic, and childlike excitement. Fear of heights wouldn't prevent me from missing out on this opportunity!
He spent the next few minutes teaching me the basic controls, the purpose of the different meters, and my job in piloting. 
He assured me multiple times that at our current height, there was little to nothing I could do to cause a crash. I was a bit skeptical.
With a determined stance like that of an un-oiled robot grasping onto a steering wheel for dear life, I took control of the plane for a full 10 minutes. 




My aviators are more than just for looks (now).
Although my anxiety levels probably tripled, my piloting experience was simply brilliant, and there were no problems whatsoever. I was more than willing to pass control back to the real pilot after my stint though, and to return to my role as photographer. 
Relatively certain I was on an adrenaline high for the 24-hour period post-piloting.
With camera back in (shaky) hand, I spent the rest of the trip taking as many aerial photos as I could. 
The lighting was perfect, I was incredibly pleased, and I snapped some really cool pictures of the whole flight. Enjoy!









Did you know that half of Washington state is desert? I mean, it is the 'evergreen state', but that title really only applies to Western Washington (Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia area). Eastern Washington, which comprises the entirety of the state east of the Cascades, is desert and grasslands. It's hot, it's dry, and there are few trees. But it still manages to have a beauty all its own, as seen in the bright gold hues present on every surface.





I don't think I'll ever become a pilot, but I loved my experience, and I had a pretty fantastic birthday as a result. Have you flown in a small plane before? 


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4 comments:

  1. Holy Crap. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever. I'm also terrified of heights. . .but that looked amazing. Nice photos!

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    1. Right?! I was babbling all day about how I had the coolest birthday, but I was at a conference no one knew me at... haha. And thanks!

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  2. I once flew in a small plane, not quite as small as yours however. I think the one I flew from Wenatchee to Olympia was maybe a 6 passenger. It was in August and a very bumpy ride! Was very glad to touch the ground once again!!

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  3. Great pictures, by the way. What a fab birthday present!

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