Flight != Exhilaration

I just got back from a little airplane ride, generously provided by my friend Dan.

Dan, for the record, is my number-one fan, and nobody can take that title from him. You see, he was the first person ever to buy artwork from me. His last name, for the record, is Strohl…

Anyway, airplane ride. I understand that some people love aerial tours. It was nice seeing things I recognized. We circled my house, and I could even tell that Sandra and Patches were in the front yard (I called before take-off and told them to expect me). But the turbulence — even wee little drops and nudges — scares me clear to the core of my obviously yellow belly. Intellectually I have absorbed the fact that bumpiness is not indicative of “impending plummet.” My hind-brain, however, refuses to get on board.

So… it was a tame tour of the valley instead of an extended tour up the canyon and back. Still… I got pictures of my house from 1500 feet up.


8 thoughts on “Flight != Exhilaration”

      1. No, just trying to hide my enormous intellect from Google… You have to be scared of a corporate entity whose motto is “Don’t be evil” – like, it’s a constant reminder to them. They could be evil at any moment…

  1. Come On Up!

    Jeez, if you want to see how bad it can really get, you should come on up and visit. Alaska has more than it’s fair share of small airplanes. I spent a good number of years out in the bush, catching rides in planes that I probably could have pushed over on the runway. It pretty standard procedure to see wings held together with 100mph tape (an industrial duck tape/leg hair remover) and to experience more wind rushing thru the cockpit than if I had ridden on the struts. I’ve flown into short runways with arrested stops, hand cut runways in the tundra, dropped over the mountain onto the runway wedged between the bottom of the mountain and the ocean, landed on the water (with floats not a crash), and even had one very bumpy ski landing. And after all this, I’m the guy you see sleeping on commercial flights that are flying thru a thunderstorm while dropping and rising 20 ft at a time in rough turbulence. It just doesn’t faze me anymore.

    Glad you got to experience it though, it is such a different experience to fly in a small aircraft.

  2. I’m sorry you didn’t get to enjoy the flight as much as I do. I love flying, and am really hoping the new job will allow me to finally own my own airplane.

    I don’t know what to tell you except to try again on a calm day, but I don’t know how many of those there are where you live.

    1. It WAS a calm day. These were tiny little blips. And over time, I was unconsciously white-knuckling and going pale.

      The thought of going up the canyon… well, part of me wanted to do it, and another part of me knew that I’d be so terrified I wouldn’t enjoy it.

      Oh well.

  3. I Disagree

    Sorry howard, I will have to disagree with you on the yellow belly comment. You put yourself in a position where you knew that you were uncomfortable, and were aware of the level of comfort (or disconfort) that you were willing to handle. I think that you did well for a first flight, (and it can definitly be calmer, although near the mountains as you are, I am not sure how common that would be)

    I have taken up several first timers, and had lots more people say they were just too afraid of going up at all, you understood your fear and went up anyway. Almost everyone I have met (including most pilots) are uncomfortable with bounces and terbulance at first, it takes some practice to get your “hind brain” to sit down and shut up… and sometimes for me, even after many hours of flying, I have to remind it that i am in charge, not it… (now if it would always listen, life would be better!)

    Anyway, we had a good flight, and thanks for catching up!


  4. There’s a line from a Christine Lavin song, “Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind,” which occurred to me when I read this: “There’s no exhilaration / I’m only feeling terrified!”

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