OK, imagine this. You’re a kid, about thirteen. Just a regular guy; popular, cool, independent. You’re talking to your friends, and one of them goes, “Boy, I love hanging out with my Dad.”
Wait, what? Yeah, not to often do you hear, “My Dad is really cool”, comin’ out of a teenager’s mouth. But that’s me… believe it or not.
So, earlier today, my Dad and I were cleaning up the house. He asks me if I want to go flying. I was a little reluctant, but I agreed.
After freezing our butts off checking the plane, we get in and start to taxi to the runway. After he does all his “plane talk” to the tower, we get take a left and swing out onto the runway. The sight was amazing, a huge road to ourselves. But what I think what really stole our breath was, right in front of us was, not only was a dirty, worn road, but a whole undiscovered world. And the best part is that nobody can ever rediscover the world you saw.
So we start to shoot off, me watching out the front window, swiftly and lightly, into the air. Now, I have never been in the air with snow on the ground, and, soon enough, I was wowing at the sight of all the colorful lights, speeding cars, and busy stores. I had said to my Dad that the world below us didn’t look like matchbox cars and ants, but a train set, fit with all the fake snow, lights, and plastic people. It was so amazing! And then, it happened.
We approached Harlem Valley on the west side. I was peering over my window while my Dad lined up the plane with the valley. It was a little before dark, and the whole city below us was filled with glowing lights; it was so beautiful, and then a voice crackled into my headphones, “You wanna fly from here?”
Now, I’ve flown the plane before, but not for to long. This time, we weren’t really in a rush and, excitedly, took the yoke and started to fly. I peered out the front, feeling so great already. It’s so much fun to ride in a plane, but to fly it is a whole new feeling.
So after a while my Dad asks me if I want to do a few steep turns. I usually would say no, but tonight, I wanted to. So I start to do a left turn, almost at a 90 degree angle. I gaze down at the busy world below us, thinking, boy, this is actually fun, and I’m not dead yet! Then we level out, still flying over the valley, and do a right turn. Now, since I’m sitting on the right, it was even more of an amazing feeling. Then, losing a little altitude, pull up while leveling out. Boy was that awesome! We got a few “G’s”. It felt like a roller coaster then! After this little incident, I started to purposely lose altitude, then we’d shoot back up, and my Dad and I would both go, “WEEEE!” That was fun, until my Dad started to get a little motion sick.
After our last, and biggest, turn, I level out, and we fly down the valley. My Dad starts to tell me some facts about “Harlem” like the whole valley was cut out by glaciers, which, I think, is pretty cool.
Then it starts to get dark. Very dark. Wow, what a sight! So we’re flying around, and suddenly, he goes, “OK, where’s the airport?” He’s done this to me before, and I could never get it. You try looking into miles of land looking for a little blinking dot! But, after a little bit, I pointed toward a dot to the right of us a little bit. My Dad said to try again, and I pointed towards a dot to the left of us. “Yeah, you got it”, my Dad exclaimed. Well, he thought I got it.
So, after lining up with the “dot”, we started to head towards it. After about ten minutes of flying towards the airport, Dad goes, “Wait a minute, I think that’s the airport over there.” He pointed to my original guess. Oh, the irony! I laughed and said, “See, TOLD you!” He laughed and we started to head towards Duchess County Airport.
It was really fun when we got close to the airport because my Dad started to talk to the guy in the tower. We were a few miles away and could just make out the airport. So he calls the guy, with me still flying, “This is plane etc. bla bla…do you think we could have full lights please?” I totally did not get what the heck they were talking about, until after the guy responded, “Sure, hold on…”
Almost right after he said sure, the lights surrounding the runway got very bright. Wow! It was like magic! I found it pretty cool to go from a few thousand feet of air, and “control” the lights on the ground. If you had never seen this before, on your next night flight, ask your pilot, or ask the tower, if you can have brighter lights, or something. I’m not sure the exact wording, though.
So when we got a few miles closer, my Dad then said to the tower, “OK, we’ll take dimmer lights please.” And this time, even before the guy answered, the lights magically dimmed back to their regular lighting. Then my Dad took control, and I joked, “What, I can’t land it, too? Aw, man!”
He smiled, but was then concentrating. I looked out my window and watched how the cars rapidly grew. Now, this particular runway was right over a road, and I love to always wave to the cars, even if they don’t see me. Try it one time, you never know…
Rrt, rrt, rrt! The three wheels of the Cessna 172 quickly, one after another, touched down on the runway. My Dad exclaimed, “Yeah! A greaser.” I don’t really know a good landing from a bad, and, clutching my seat, said wearily, “Oh yeah, that was awesome.” After taxiing to our spot, we took off our headsets and looked at each other. We smiled, and both thought the same thing, that was really fun!
So, I guess I have an excuse for saying my Dad’s cool to hang around. He’s a pretty awesome pilot, and has a great sense of adventure. He also lets his son fly, which is a great experience for both of us: I learn a little about how to fly, and my Dad gets to cower in his seat, praying for his life. No, I’m just kidding. But if you ever meet a popular, cool, independent 13-year-old, think twice about how he likes to spend his Saturday nights…
Thanks for reading!
Editors (Dad’s) Notes:
1) Our steep turns maxed out at 40 degrees. )
2) Someone turned the plane towards Danbury (the wrong airport initially). I recall he was driving at the time. Hmmmm…