33 New Things: Take A Flight Lesson

Each year on my birthday I make a list of new things I want to
try.  Some of them are challenging, some are easy, some are shockingly
mundane.  You can read about previous adventures here.

Sometimes, when I’m undertaking these New Thing adventures I’m totally nervous – I’m looking at you  pole dancing class – and other times I’m bizarrely nonchalant.  “What’s up, Scientology Church?  Sure, I’ll take your weird personality test and accept your flyers with wizards on them.”  “Oh hai, frozen lake!  Yes, I will be jumping into you today!”And I was feeling 100% no-biggsies when my dude and I showed up for our Groupon-ed flight classes at Twin Cities AviationWith all the traveling I do, I’ve flown a gajillion times, experienced my fair share of turbulence and even the occasional tiny airplane that seats 12 people (one of whom is an old dude who spends the whole flight starting at me, chewing his cuticles, and throwing candy wrappers on the floor.)

So I was quite surprised at myself when, during the take off of our teeny, tiny plane I was totally overcome with The Fear.
  Like, oh-my-god-why-isn’t-there-something-for-me-hang-on-to-this-is-how-i’m-going-to-die fear.  My boyfriend and I had rock/paper/scissored for who got the first lesson and he won.  And I was amazed (re: frightened) when the instructor said “Okay, now we’re going to take off.  So you pull that towards you once we get up to speed.”YOU’RE GOING TO LET THE DUDE WHO’S NEVER FLOWN BEFORE BE IN CHARGE OF TAKE OFF?

Of course if anything went wrong, the instructor is literally sitting thigh to thigh with you in the cockpit.  But still!  The Fear!  I haz it.  And those first few stomach-dropping dips?  Fear.  The first few turns and banks?  Fear.

But eventually things leveled out and it was just like flying in any plane, anywhere.  If the plane we’re talking about is the size of a smart car and is being flown by your boyfriend.  I calmed the eff down and looked out the window and got excited about taking my turn.

We landed at the tiny airport in Eden Prairie, switched seats, and then it was my turn.  I spent most of my time climbing up to 4,500 really, really slowly and banking really, really gently as we navigated our way through the air space right above MSP international airport.  When it came time to land and we had to descend and bank quite steeply, I spent most of my time trying not to puke.

All in all, an excellent puke-free, mostly fear-free adventure.  But it’s good to do things that scare you, right?

Have you ever taken a light lesson?  Would you?

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  1. Terri

    That is awesome!!! My cousin is a pilot and he runs a company in my town called Eagle East Aviation. I've flown with him as a passenger a bunch of times. Fun!

  2. Abbey

    Oh goodness did this post make me smile. You're such a rockstar! Way to challenge yourself. I'm not sure if I could do it, but I think I'd be more likely to do this than, say, jump OUT of that plane and skydive. 🙂

  3. Nova

    You did it!! 🙂 That's so freaking scary and cool!

  4. Sarah Rooftops

    Yes! I was given a flying lesson for my 18th birthday. There's NO WAY I would have booked it myself (I can't even drive), but I loved every minute.

  5. Julia H. @ Going Gulia

    This has actually been the #1 thing on my mom's bucket list for as long as I can remember. My dad lived in Seattle for a while for a job & bought my mom a flying lesson at an airport near there, but then ended up moving back home (East Coast) before she got the chance to use it while visiting him! Very cool that you got to do it 🙂

  6. Mary

    So awesome! I've been wanting to do this for ages too! Good on you!

  7. camanoe

    Good for you!! I love the photo of you flying/at the helm looking down at what's below. So awesome!

  8. Morgan


  9. Freya

    Eee! Fabulous! I'm reading West with the Night by Beryl Markham right now, who was an aviator in Africa in the 1930s. Looks brilliant!

  10. Haddock

    What a view from the top.

  11. Ally

    That looks like so much fun!! I was going to go skydiving at the Waseca Airport sometime this summer (if I can come up with the $200/person) but flying the plane looks even better. I think I'll see if they offer flying lessons and how much they cost. Maybe I can get my mom to come with me. She used to take flying lessons with her ex-boyfriend before she met my dad. She would always tell me about how much fun she had so I'm sure she would love to get back in a plane.

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