Ever since I can remember, flying has been a normal thing for me. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have a dad that works for the airline all my life. For a travel-junkie like me, it’s a huge benefit to be able to fly anywhere in the world for next-to-nothing. Now, I can only exercise this if there’s space on the flight, which has left me stranded in airports plenty often. But for me, this is just another leg of the adventure. (so much so that buying a seat and having it guaranteed almost seems like less fun!)
Love for travel and familiarity with flying naturally lead to me wanting to try learning to fly for myself. Now, there are a lot of levels to pilot licenses, and I don’t want to discuss the intricacies here. It’s enough to know that the first level is the private pilot license. To earn this, a student pilot must complete a first solo, a cross-country solo, then a written and oral exam and practical checkride. Seven years ago, while I was still in high school, Dad and I rented a Cessna 172 out of Lake Norman Airport (14A) and on March 24, 2011, I completed my first solo out of Statesville Airport (SVH).
For one reason or another, we didn’t fly anymore afterward. But this past spring, Dad bought a Piper Cherokee 180. And since coming back from Moz, I’ve been flying after teaching and on the weekend, aggressively working on my license.
Yesterday, almost 7 years to the day, I completed my second solo out of Lincolnton Airport (IPJ).
Feeling the plane lift off the ground with only you in control gives a rush like you wouldn’t believe. I’m not even totally sure how to describe it. I’ll attempt over the next few blog posts about flying, but for now, I’ll leave you with a poem by John Gillespie Magee, Jr that will probably do a little better justice than I can right now.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr