Today is National Aviation Day, an occasion to commemorate the development of manmade flight in America. Franklin Roosevelt commenced the celebration in 1939, selecting Orville Wright’s birthday for the holiday (no word on how Wilbur felt about the snub). I was born and raised in Ohio, but I have yet to visit the Dayton historical park dedicated in the Wright Brothers’ honor. Instead, for National Aviation Day 2014, here’s a pictorial celebrating how to fly a plane, weird wanderer-style.
Almost three years ago, my husband and I took flying lessons. Eventually, in some alternate reality where we have unlimited time and money, we’d both love to get our pilot’s license. But for now, we just have to settle for the occasional lesson. And thanks to ubiquitous Groupon deals, almost anyone can take the first steps in learning how to navigate an aircraft.
Truth be told, flying a plane probably isn’t the weirdest thing I’ve ever done in my travels, but it was one of the most fun. Because we selected an airport relatively close to our home, I soared right over our house during my lesson. Google Maps doesn’t even begin to encapsulate the experience.
Although I practically build my entire life around the odd and the unusual, I’m inherently a little wary of, well, almost everything. I like to think I’m just highly skilled at risk assessment, but I have to admit I’m a bit neurotic. And I’m not the only nervous one in my family. My husband has a bit of an issue with heights. Consequently, a flying lesson sounded equal parts exciting and unnerving. But as you already guessed, we lived to tell the tale and are eager to try it again soon.
Takeoffs and landings are the most perilous parts of the flight, so the instructor assists with those aspects. But otherwise, as a student, you get to do pretty much everything else.
So if you ever have the opportunity to take a flying lesson, I would highly recommend it. Even if you’re a bit neurotic like me (or wary of heights like my husband), the experience of navigating over the countryside trumps any fears. Just be sure you’ve got a good instructor and a reputable company. Then buckle up for the ride of your life.
Happy National Aviation Day!