When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and be a pilot. Not just any pilot - I wanted to be a fighter pilot. Particularly for The Navy, preferably the F-14 Tomcat. And while I could fill this entire post with clever allusions to scenes from Top Gun, I'll spare you.
I got to fly for the first time on my 15th birthday when my dad's co-worker took me up in a small Cesna over Blue Ash. By that time in my life the childhood dream of dog fighting over communist skies was just that: a childhood dream. It didn't matter though that as time went on and I turned 18 gaining the remotest idea of what I wanted to do in life (the plans of which did not include joining the Navy (and if that recruiter I made an appointment with in 2007 is reading this, I'm sorry I never showed up, but I do appreciate that you stopped calling my house), there's still no experience quite like flying.
The heat of mid-June was erased by the air flowing into the cockpit captured from thousands of feet above the city while John piloted the plane in circles, trying to get a word in with the CVG tower. Eventually they gave us clearance to enter the Class Bravo Airspace of downtown Cincinnati before heading North to see the Mc-Modern-Carnival esque landscape of Kings Island.
Outisde of Class Bravo, there's less traffic and you can fly lower. So low that as you circle around the park's 1/3 scale replica of an iconic french tower, you could see people run around the observation deck following and pointing at the aircraft.
John took the plane away from the park and further upwards in alltitude. He showed me some basic controls and for two minutes let me steer while he read a map. He eventually found a point where in one direction you could see the Cincinnati skyline, Dayton's in another and the small dots of Columbus' at the edge of your view - all at the same time.
Before heading in to land, the plane suddenly dove forward, gained speed, dropped in altitude and then reared back up as he recovered and continued on course. It happened more than once. John intentionally stalled the plane. "Practicing" as he called it.
Special thanks to John for taking me flying with him and for one of the best days of this past summer.
Previous Update :: August 10, 2011 - "Pictoria."