The first time I ever flew in a plane was when I was in ninth grade. I flew from El Paso to Houston for an academic competition with my high school. The weather was fine on the way out and stormy on the way back. Not knowing what to expect, I was a little nervous, but I got through it without any problems. That, and I was with my chaperones and classmates. I couldn’t be a wuss about it.

The next time I took to the skies was in my freshman year in college. I traveled to Mexico City in search of great adventure (or something like it). It’s a long story, and I’ll probably write at length about it one day. Just not today. The approach into Mexico City was awesome because the city seems to spread out forever even though it’s flanked by several very high peaks.

And then came the one bad moment that ruined it all for me when it comes to flying. A friend of my dad’s bought an ultralight airplane, open-cockpit, two passengers. Kind of like this one:


He took me up into the air, and I enjoyed it for about five minutes. Then he decided to pretend like the plane was crashing. Needless to say, I freaked out. I really did, and, ever since then, I’ve had issues with turbulence.

My issues not withstanding, I always wanted to fly a plane. So my wife bought me an “intro flight” last year at Dream Flight School in Westminster, Maryland. It was, simply put, awesome. The instructor was very knowledgeable and easy to get along with. He took me out to the plane and showed me the procedure to making it ready to fly. I sat in the cockpit, very nervous but excited, as we went through the checklist. A few minutes later, we were airborne.

Codorus Lake, where I take the dog to run the trails all the time.

A few minutes after that, we were flying over Codorus Lake, and, best of all, I was controlling the plane and following the instructor’s… eh… instructions. The view was spectacular.

The more we spent up in the air, the more comfortable I got. It was a windy day, so there was some turbulence, but that fear I had from way back slowly went away, especially as I controlled the plane. The instructor had done a great job telling me what to expect, so there were no surprises. I mean, look at my smile:

That’s me flying! In a plane!

It was great. When we got back to the school, the instructor told me all about their offerings when it came to getting a private pilot’s license. The price, albeit a fair market price, was a little out of my reach at the time. It’s probably going to be out of my reach for a few more years as I look to get a doctoral degree. But I really do look forward to being a pilot, even if I’m in my 40s by the time I do it.

There’s just something about flying.

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