I flew a plane! Say what now? Are you sure? Jessie were you just dreaming when you thought that happened? All very valid and commonly asked questions (well commonly asked by myself) as it is hard to believe that my incredible experience on Tuesday actually happened.
The thought of flight wanders through any travellers mind at least 3 million times a day (maybe a slight exaggeration but you get my drift). It drifts through the minds of adventures, wanderlusters and the like minded – filling our thoughts with bewilderment, apprehension and adrenaline. The feeling when a plane starts to get faster and faster and launches into the sky is one of my favourite feelings in the world and there is no wonder why the idea of flying a plane is at the top of my bucket list.
Inspire Aviation made this crazy dream of wanting to fly a plane reality. Dream! Believe! Succeed! – The spirited slogan of Inspire Aviation sums up my adventure in 3 simple words. Located at Caloundra Airport, Inspire Aviation is bringing this incredible opportunity to all, whether you would like a discovery flight or to start your pilot license (the next thing on my bucket list).
I arrived at the airport at a quarter to ten, ready to hit the sky. I was greeted by Rob, Kelli and Matt, all who were enthusiastic as ever to emerge myself into the world of aviation. Rob is the chief flying instructor, with over 7000 instructing hours piled up. Kelli is currently in the process of getting her pilots license and aims to be the first solo female pilot in Australia in 2014. Matt is a 22 year old pilot that was assigned to talk me towards the clouds. I know what you think – 22? So young (that was my Mum’s reaction anyway), well actually Matt has been a pilot for 8 years now therefore getting his license at the mere age of 14. This is the perfect demonstration to the fact that there is no barrier to being legal to zoom around the skies – whether you are female or the age of 14!
After a mind boggling briefing, the thought of flying started to become a little daunting to me. However once we ventured out to the runway and I met my American Superstar (2009 Model Evektor Sportstar24-3978 if you want to get technical), I became less daunted about the adventure and over excited. It was definitely one of the ‘easier done than said’ cases.
Once strapped in and the safety checklist was completed, Matt and I were ready to go. We started moving in our tiny aircraft towards the runway and after a matter of seconds, Matt had passed the dual steering to me and I began to taxi us out to our take off position. I learnt straight away how sensitive the pedals are (the pedals steer us on the ground however the joystick steers us in the air) as I quickly zig zag a cross the runway. After a little bit of runway dancing, I was back on track and heading towards out take off position. Lined at the back of the runway the propeller got faster, the engine grew louder and we launched into action. It was the feeling of taking off in a Boeing 747 plane times 10. The feeling was so much more personal to the experience of flight and was a feeling that has kept me buzzing for days.
The wheels rolled along ground to air and we were on our way towards the clouds. My eyes were darting a thousand different directions, as I took in the view of Caloundra below me, the clouds around me and my tiny midget Mum standing in bright yellow on the side of the runway – it was the first and probably only times that she has looked smaller than me.
With our attitude (what we could see out of our front window, not whether the plane was being naughty or nice) was only the clouds, Matt passed the steering back over to me as we continued to higher in altitude. The steering of the plane was surprisingly easier than I thought and was a thousand times easier than trying to learn to drive (as I am currently doing).
I leaned the joystick to the left as we swerved in a circle over the top of Moffat Beach and headed into the direction of the Glass House Mountains. ‘This is your pilot speaking, we are starting to experience a little bit of turbulence’ I said in my head every time we hit a little bump; and yes I was also giggling in my head about the fact that the pilot at that time was me!
There was no wiping the smile off my face as I zoomed around in that little plane – I had fallen in love.
And now, may I introduce the flypass… drum roll please.. DRUNMUMUMUMUMUMUMUMUMUM!! DUN DUN DUN AHHHHHHH! JAZZ HANDS!
A unique part to my discovery flight was the fly pass, an element not usually added to this flight. A flypass involves the plane heading back down towards the runway, gliding meters above the ground at a rapid speed and suddenly pulling nearly vertically up at the end – definitely my kind of roller coaster.
Just as I thought my feeling of adrenaline could not get any higher and my smile could not get any bigger it happened. The feeling was better than every plane trip, every roller coaster, every birthday combined into one and is definitely a feeling I will search to discover again.
After a little bit more flying we headed back towards the runway ready for landing. The plane declined in altitude and I screamed at my on board camera ‘Make the most of your day with 24wanderlust’ as this was the perfect example of what 24wanderlust stands for.
On board were two cameras; one at the front and one at the back, both of which were linked to the mic in my headset and created the perfect memory of a perfect day. This special feature is available for all discovery flights with Inspire Aviation.
The wheels hit the ground and I started taxiing us back to our final destination. As we pulled up to a halt and I jumped out of the plane excitedly (not so much gracefully), it was a relief to get a breeze of some cool air. The warmth in the little pilot bubble (or cockpit if you want to get technical) certainly builds up throughout the flight.
Such an incredible experience and adventure was had at Inspire Aviation and that is now at the top of my recommendation of experiences to check off on your bucket list.