Photo by Travis Snelling
I flew a plane yesterday. Not this plane, but an airplane nonetheless. Up in Newmarket, north of Toronto, is a small airfield called Holland Landing Airpark that’s home to pre-WW2 fighters like this, helicopters and all kinds of other stuff that flies. This photo is of one of the old warplanes they wheeled out of the hangar to work on. It’s one of only 32 in Canada.
My personal flying lesson started at 11:30am sharp as my instructor, Eugene, dropped out of the sky and landed his ultralight plane at about 11:25am to greet me on the tarmac. After a quick rundown of the aircraft and the course we would take, it was time to kick the tires and light the fires.
We headed north-east toward the nicer weather and after climbing to 2500ft and levelling the wings, Eugene excitedly informed me over the headset, “ok, now you’re flying!”
I took the stick and quickly realized it wasn’t like any vidoegame I’ve played before. Sure, the basic principle was the same (don’t crash) but to actually feel the results of your actions in motion is something you just don’t get from a videogame. A few shaky turns and I started to get the hang of it. I was flying.
After 20 minutes or so a report came over the radio of skydivers in the area and to exercise caution. I asked Eugene, “permission to buzz the tower?” but my radio was muted as he was responding to the bulletin so my request went unfulfilled. With our runway now in sight, my lesson, and opportunity to use more Top Gun quotes, was sadly coming to an end.
Eugene resumed control for the landing and we touched down softly approx. 30 minutes after taking off – a short but good amount of time for an introductory, hands-on flying experience.
If you’re interested in flying a plane yourself (or doing other really cool stuff like this), check out TryThat.ca – they’re “The Experience Company” that specializes in great gift ideas like this all across Canada.