There’s something special about seeing every day things from a new perspective. When our friend Adam came home from pilot training for the holidays, we thought it would be a great opportunity to see parts of Nova Scotia in a new way. Though we both have some flying anxiety, we soldiered on and ended up having a nice time.
My reservations about flying have a long and twisted history. I was a bit of a late bloomer to the flying world, only having boarded my first flight when I was 20. I wasn’t a late bloomer because I had any debilitating fears about flying. The opportunity had just never presented itself.
I remember all of the excitement leading up to that December day. I packed my carry-on with enough entertainment to sustain me for a trip to Australia, and we were only going to Florida. I remember the cheerful West Jet people calling our flight number, excitedly going down the jet bridge, and stepping into the airplane. Then the excitement ended.
It felt like I had stepped into a narrow tube of doom. All of the movies and TV shows I had seen gave quite an unrealistic view of the inside of a plane, or at least this one. Luckily, our seats were in the fourth row, so I couldn’t see exactly how many people were crammed into what now felt like a floating coffin.
I wish I could say that was the worst of things that occurred. Not so, my friends, not so. Now, I love my husband very much, but he is not the person you want to sit next to in a plane, as I soon learned that day. He had told me he didn’t enjoy flying much, but he failed to explain the incapacitating tremors that overcome him the moment the engines start up. Picture, if you will, Brad white knuckled and trembling by the window (no exaggerating), me in the middle, and his dad on the other side of me asleep as we prepare for take off. What was normal? I had no idea. The shaking and trembling continued for the rest of the plane ride, and at one point I caught him quoting altitudes to help cure him of his vertigo. Oh, and did I mention the mysterious passenger that asked to get off the plane after we boarded because he “forgot something” in the airport?
I have never flown since.
So why did I agree to hop in a four passenger plane with a pilot in training (no offense, Adam!), not to mention my husband, again? I blame it on a holiday brain lapse, but I’m glad I did it. It’s not very often that you get the opportunity to go on your own private plane ride. It was pretty neat being able to see the cockpit and how everything worked, as well as getting to dictate where we flew, to some extent.
Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all lollipops and rainbows. Had I not committed to the flight, I’m sure the first step into the “airport” would have sent me packing. It seemed like a converted kids camp full of ancient technology and weird flight safety posters. It grew on me, though, and in the end made for an even more memorable time.
Getting ready for the flight helped ease some of the anxiety. I didn’t realize how many procedures pilots have to go through before they even start the engines. The worst part of any flight for me is the take-off. My head tends to spin as it adjusts to the rising altitude. So, I did panic for the first twenty minutes at every dip and turn, but once all of my ear juices seemed to work themselves out and I got rid of the dizziness, it was really fun. We got to fly over various local landmarks and even got to see the Diefenbunker!
I think the flight was good for both of us (minus Brad’s flinching when our pilot announced we were a mile up) and was a good precursor to the commercial flight we’ll be taking at the end of this week as we whisk off on our winter escape!
When we went to New York City I really wanted to do a helicopter tour. Then I found out I’d have to sell a kidney to afford a 15 minute ride, so I politely declined. As far as I know, we don’t have anything like that here in Halifax, so when my friend Adam came to town we thought it would be fun to make it happen.
Since we had an extra seat in the plane, we decided to bring a guest. Internet’s Joel Kelly™ joined us on this adventure and although he thinks we graciously gave up the front seat to him, it was really just because Susan and I wanted to ensure if we went down in flames, we were going down together. He got a great view out the front window, and we got the security of knowing we wouldn’t die alone. Sounds fair to me. Our original plan was to take off from Debert and fly in over the city. Unfortunately, due to weather constraints, that didn’t happen, but we still had a great time flying over other areas.
Before we left solid ground, Adam took us around some storage areas around the airport where we got to see lots of different small airplanes. After seeing so much old technology sitting around the airport (I’m pretty sure the newest thing they had was a VCR) the tour helped settle the nerves.
I remember flying in small planes as a kid. My dad once took me on a flight with some people he knew in a six passenger plane, and when I was a bit older I went on a short flight in a four passenger plane. You know how things from your childhood memories seem bigger? That totally happened. I could not believe how small it was inside. However, once we were belted in and headed down the runway, the size of the plane wasn’t an issue.
Despite my horrible distaste for flying, I had a great time. We got to see all kinds of fun things from a whole new perspective. We flew over my aunt’s house in Truro, Wentworth mountain, and we could even see PEI in the distance.
If you have a chance to take a helicopter or airplane tour of your city or the surrounding area, you need to do it. They tend to be a bit pricey, but it’s one of those “once in a lifetime” experiences. We’d like to say a huge thank you to our pilot, Adam, for keeping us alive, and to Internet’s Joel Kelly™ for putting up with our screams of terror with every bump and turn the plane took. We took way more pictures than we could include in this post so make sure to take a look at the Flickr set and let us know what you think.
(Click here if you don’t see the video of our flight)