Pilots For A Day
Truth be told, there’s something about flying that gets me every time. It reminds me of my childhood – hopping on planes from MNL to SG and vice versa. It reminds me of that one long haul flight I had on what I’d consider the best airline ever – Singapore Airlines is amazing, you guys. I remember playing Zelda on the monitor. The. Entire. Time. Anyway, I digress.
I took Vergs out flying during his last visit over the Holiday season. He mentioned wanting to be part of the US Airforce before – but ultimately decided against it for the Navy instead – so I reckoned a chance to fly a plane was something he was interested in. I scrolled my news feed, did my research, made a few calls to set an appointment, set our alarms for 6am, and readied myself.
“I’m actually kind of excited for you. Actually, no. Make that nervous. More nervous than excited, I think,” I said to him as we were making our way on NLEX.
“Where are we going?!! You’re making me scared!”
“I’m not telling. Let’s just say that it’s something we both haven’t done before. You’re not afraid of heights, right?”
“Are we riding a rollercoaster?!!”
“No. But we may as well be, I think.”
The road going to the Angeles City Flying Club was a bumpy one. Had I not hastily ran over one of the many humps on the road, I don’t think Vergs would’ve woken up with a jolt. Just my luck to have him open his eyes to a sign that read the name of the club.
“We’re going flying?!!”
Visitors of ACFC are taken up in separate ultralight planes. Each plane holds two seats, one for the visitor and another for the licensed pilot. The pedals serve as the “steering wheel” and should only be stepped on lightly. If you’re an experienced driver, than you should have no problem with the footwork.
The black pole on the right of the photo (forgive me, I forget what it’s called) decides whether the plane goes up or down. Again, move it with caution. Don’t go full on joystick with this one.
A 10-minute ride took us soaring over sights of Hacienda Luisita, Subic and even Zambales in the near distance. Much to my dismay, my pilot even let me take the reins while we were above. I was perfectly fine with just being a passenger, but he had other things in mind. He said he wouldn’t hold the controls so it was either up to me or our plane would take on a downward and rather abrupt flight. Silly me thought he was bluffing – but no, he really did let go…
So I did my best to admire the views while trying to keep my cool and making sure that no matter how terrified I was I wasn’t going to give my stomach even more butterflies. Oh how I tried to relax while in the air…
To be honest, I was dreading the take off and landing portions of the flight. But really, I had nothing to be afraid of. The pilots are absolute pros and are able to maneuver the planes with such grace that they put even the slowest rollercoasters to shame. I’ve never had a “calmer” take off and landing. Really. I kid you not.
The flight ends with a certificate for the passenger turned co-pilot. It’s signed too so it’s a nice little souvenir to show off. I’ve got to admit, I never would have thought I’d get to say the words, “I flew a plane today!” in my entire life. But now I have. And I feel braver knowing that I’ve pushed my comfort zone a bit further and (yet again) lived to tell the tale.
Got to cross something off our bucket lists too! On to the next item on the list! Now where can I find a pair of bull testicles… I’m kidding. Or am I? ;)