Come Fly With Me!

I’m going to tell you a secret. Are you ready? Here it goes… I’m afraid of flying.

That’s right, even after visiting 34 countries and going on on HUNDREDS of flights, I still get nervous sitting on a plane and waiting for it to take off, during any sort of turbulence, and during landing, especially if it’s close to a body of water.

This fear didn’t always exist, but developed after a few small incidents- one including an evening flight through a thunderstorm in a tiny, tiny plane (6 seats) with a pilot that looked about 18, who checked some sort of manual while alarms were going off. I have a photo to prove it:

Exhibit 1: 12 year old pilot looking at the manual in the middle of flying through a storm! Please don't mind the quality, this pic is from 2009.

Exhibit 1: 12 year old pilot looking at the manual in the middle of flying through a storm! Please don't mind the quality, this pic is from 2009.

All that to say, when I bought my husband the Christmas gift of a 1 hour flying lesson/ flight experience for him and 1 passenger, I had absolutely no intent on being that passenger. Let’s move past the fact that it was a Christmas present that he redeemed in September because we’re leaving the US at the end of the month, and let me set the scene for you.

We drive the hour from DC out to Leesburg, VA on a sunny Monday morning and arrive at the AV-ED Flight School. We’re chatting with the lovely staff there, and they start to hand us the headsets. I’m going to be honest, I flat out declined with a “Nope!” and was content to sit and read while the hubs did his flying thing.

To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what changed my mind, I didn’t feel any pressure from the staff or from E, but found myself saying, “You know what, I changed my mind. Give me the headset.” I was handed the mint green headset (the color might have had an influence on my decision)  and we walked out to the field of tiny planes.

Once out at our plane, our instructor, Daniel Millbrandt (CFI, CFII, MEI and from now on, Pilot Daniel), started to walk us through the pre-flight checklist. He did a great job of explaining what he was checking, why he was checking it, and talked about it all in a way that made it easy for me to understand everything. The run through and waiting for the plane to be refueled took about 30 minutes, then it was time to go. To be honest, going over all the parts of the plane and learning about what we were checking and why did make me feel a little more comfortable about the experience, and I was hardly nervous as we boarded this tiiiiiiny Cessna 172.

When we were boarded in the plane, we taxied to the runway (oooooh, just look at all my fancy plane lingo!) and Pilot Daniel did some talking on the radio to make sure we were good to take off. Then, that was it! After a super short taxi, that little car with wings was up in the air! I took a short Facebook Live of the takeoff if you want to check it out below.

After takeoff, we flew flew around a bit over the vineyards in Virginia, some small mountain ranges, and toward Harper’s Ferry, WV where we circled around a bit and got some really great views like this:

We'd visited Harper's Ferry a lot over the years, but have never seen it like this!

We'd visited Harper's Ferry a lot over the years, but have never seen it like this!

After flying around a little bit, Pilot Dan asked E if he wanted to take the controls, he very intently said “Sure!” and then my husband started flying us around! To be honest, I was even that nervous about that, because he plays this flying game a lot on his computer (E shouting in the background “it’s not a game it’s a simulator!”) so I felt pretty comfortable with him behind the controls. He did a great job and Pilot Daniel even complimented him a few times!

E taking control(s).

Although both Pilot Daniel and E did a great job flying, the thing that I had not completely considered was the fact that I get a fair amount of motion sickness. I’m pretty sure that was all the way in the back of my mind because I was more afraid of the actual flight, but after a small amount of turbulence, I was definitely regretting the fact that I had ordered the Eggs Benedict for breakfast. Luckily I know all the tricks to avoid puking while motion sick and so paid a lot of attention to the horizon, my breathing, and was focused on that one pressure point in the wrist and managed to keep everything down.

Even with the slight nausea, this was a fantastic experience. I think it even helped to alleviate my fear a flying a bit by giving me an understanding of all of the parts of the plane. If you’re thinking about trying this out yourself, I would definitely recommend it.

The company that I bought this experience through, Cloud 9 Living, even gave me a code to use for all of my readers! 

For 10% off your total order value, just go to this website and enter ERNEST10 from now until 12/31/17 (only one code per order, per customer). 

What things have you done recently that involve something you’re afraid of? How have you gotten over your fears in the past? Let me know in the comments below!