Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published December 2nd 2015
They weren’t called joy flights for nothing
In the pilot's seat
I love the feel of taking off. The adrenaline is high and that feeling of freedom thrills me. This was the smallest plane we'd ever been in. There was just enough space for the pilot and the three of us taxiing down runway 6 – AKA the dirt track at Lilydale airport. We could hear the pilot do all the checks: check fuel, throttle, instruments are set, All good – there are excited smiles all round. It's a quick take off and giggles all round.
David is our pilot today. It's not his day job but he owns a plane and loves to fly. He said it's a bit bumpier than Qantas at 1500 feet but it smoothes out once we are up higher. I don't mind the bumps but my daughter leaves fingernail marks in my hand.
It's so beautiful up here and we are on a mission to find our house. This is no easy mission. There are lots more trees than I thought and by the time I spotted landmarks, I knew we had missed the house. It was fun trying though. My daughter said "Our schools usually big, but today it's small!"
To add to my daughter's fears, the pilot handed over the controls to my ten year old son. He directed him to go gentle, pull up and exclaimed that 'He's a natural, he's got very good instincts.' He crossed his arms and added" I could hop in the back.' Sam was thrilled but said he needed a cushion to see! He attributed his steady hand and skills to the flight simulator on the iPad. He also suggested to the pilot that he couldn't land. 'Oh, I won't get you to do it then today.' Phew.
The pilot explained about air bubbles and bumps, the speed and height we were going and that you have to watch out for parachuters.
All smiles now
I was surprised to find out that there were no traffic controllers in a little airport like this one. The flight was about half and hour and then the pilot took the wheel. Wheels down, lights on, flaps down. The landing was smooth but the pilot explained we had to come in a bit faster as someone was behind us.
Sam would highly recommend it. He said that was the 'coolest thing'. I agree, This would make a unique gift or surprise activity some Sunday afternoon.
If you can afford the money and the time (lots of hours practise) you can get your pilot's licence before you can drive. It costs about $10,000 to get your license but only $140 pp for a joy flight. I have a little bloke who is very interested in becoming a pilot now. Stamp collecting would be preferable but a tad less exciting.