Wednesday, July 1, 2009

First Flight Lesson

It is very satisfying to be able to give someone something you know they will love. My husband and I had the chance to give our son an introductory flight lesson for his 14th birthday. At least, that's what I called it. My son called it "my first flight lesson." Note what that implies.
Anyway, it was as thrilling as he thought it would be. He had a wonderful flight instructor from Oakland Flyers who was chatty and warm. He and my son did the whole pre-flight check together, while I took photos, then they walked me back to the terminal and they flew over the Bay in a tiny 152 Cessna 2-seater for an hour. My son got to handle the controls (the pilot did, too) and take photos from 2,000 feet up. After many his hours on the Flight Simulator game, my son knew pretty much what all the controls on the dashboard were. In fact, during the pre-flight check, the pilot said, "I'm not so sure you need me." But a revelation to my son was the actual physical feel of the yoke, the wind pulling on the plane, and how much force it took to hold the plane steady. He said his arms were tired after the flight (and I don't think he's ever heard of Henny Youngman). All evening he was reliving the experience, like what the fog looked like from above, what the control towers said to them, and how it was a little choppy coming in for the landing, and what a good job the pilot did bringing it down with a little plunk. My husband and I got several extra hugs that evening, and the statement, "That was the best present I have ever had and I will remember it for the rest of my life."

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Wow. My flight-obsessed son would love that. Maybe by the time he's 14 I could imagine him taking the controls of a plane!