How can someone begin to explain something that takes their breath away? The phenomenon of flight is too difficult to put into words.
I could write a long list of wahoos and yowzas, and add a few air punches and heel clips, which would certainly give a good example of my feelings post-lesson; however, one must move away from voiced exaltations and thrashing gesticulations, to try to find a more coherent way to communicate the joy of this experience.
When Louis and I arrived at Bliss Aviation in Bournemouth Airport, I was admittedly a little anxious about the flight. In the past, I had worked at Bournemouth Airport for over eight years, among various types of aircraft on the ground, yet never ventured into the sky.
Charlie, our flight instructor, came out to greet us and took all those apprehensions away. We decided on a route around the Isle of Wight, flying over Hengistbury Head towards The Needles.
Our aircraft was a Piper PA28 Warrior, supposedly a favourite for getting those all-important ‘wings’. Charlie gave us a brief but thorough crash course about the controls and apparatus around the outside of the plane before moving us inside to go over some of the internal instruments and safety precautions.
Once up to speed, we started the engine and taxied towards the runway.
I think now is the time to make something clear about the flight itself. From this point onwards, I was in control of the aircraft. I did everything except bring her in to land. In fact, up until the point when Charlie explained how to take off, I was completely unaware that this aspect of the flight would be down to me.
The process was simple, Charlie would show me a dummy version of the controls and then I did it. Unassisted. I learned how to get the plane into the air, bank left and right at a 30-degree angle, alongside aspects of visual navigation, using the horizon as a guide while also learning how to gain and lose altitude. It was exhilarating.
Now, having had a few days to come away from the experience and reflect, it is easy to say how much fun the flight lesson was. The pleasure of flying across one of the country’s most beautiful landscapes is not something I will forget.
Of course there are other thrills, such as driving fast cars, motorbikes and varying kinds of adventure sports, but none of these come anywhere close to lifting those wheels from the tarmac, seeing the world at your feet and flying through the sky, free as a bird.
That is where the real excitement is.
Bliss Aviation is currently supporting Julia’s House by donating four trial flight vouchers to help with fundraising. A free flight is also being donated to a hotel as a prize, which will be coupled with a free meal at the hotel and sponsored chauffeur-driven journey. In addition, the Bliss team will be undertaking the £50 challenge by turning £50 into as much as they can for Julia’s House. As part of the money-raising efforts, operations manager Nick Bird will be taking part in the Brownsea Island swim in July.
Julia’s House provides care and support to families across Dorset and Wiltshire who are caring for a child with a life-limiting or life threatening condition.To support Bliss in raising money for Julia’s House visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Bliss-Aviation
To find out more about Bliss Aviation trial flights call 01202 582181.