Mentorship August 16, 2017
So, on the second Friday of the Entity Academy Program, I flew a plane.
That’s right, I sat in the pilot seat of this plane. And flew it.
I don’t know about you, but for me, flying a plane was a pretty big freaking deal. As someone who gets nervous when it comes to flying as a passenger on a big jet, I never in my ENTIRE life, thought I would ever find myself controlling one. But there I was, sitting in that front left seat about to take off.
It was a Cirrus SR-22 Turbo to be exact, with a gold exterior and white fur seat covers. To my right was Mike. He was the actual pilot who was fully in charge in making sure that we all had a safe experience. Mike was really fucking awesome.
Somehow, even though the thought of flying a plane was one of the scariest I had ever had, Mike transformed my fear into curiosity, curiosity into courage and courage into confidence. I never once doubted the fact that I could indeed fly a plane all on my own (well kind of) even though I had zero flight lesson hours. I never once froze due to the anxiety of our impending take off.
I was calm, collected and curious. And I was really, really, REALLY excited to explore the sky.
Now, you might be wondering how exactly, a person with zero flying experience flies a plane. The answer is, you do it with some help.
Even though I was sitting in the pilot seat, the co-pilot seat also had full controls. Mike said he would be making adjustments while we were taking off, flying and landing to ensure that we would never even get close to “making a mistake,” which he insisted was very hard to do unless you hit this one red button.
He explained to us (I was with two other Entity mentees) the basic ways in which the aerodynamics and engines of a plane make it fly. Then, he went through all of the preflight checks. When I sat down in the front seat, he told me how to work the plane pedals. Who knew that the way you steer a plane is similar to how you make a car accelerate?
I called into air traffic control to confirm that the runway was clear for takeoff. Before I knew it I was lifting up what I like to call, the fly lever. And just like that, within seconds, we were flying.
I was shocked at how easy it was to fly a plane once it’s in the air. It’s like steering a car only you have a lever, not a wheel. Basically all you have to do is keep the plane level with the horizon and you’re good to go.
My all-time favorite part about being in the air was when Mike made the plane do a zero gravity drop. For a few seconds, I felt weightless and it. was. awesome.
The other amazing thing about being so close to the windshield of the plane, is that you really are IN the air. There are no real walls around you, you’re only surrounded by glass. Seeing California from a real bird’s eye view is a perspective I will never forget.
This was the part that scared me most. There’s something strange about going from flying around in the air on a flat trajectory, to pointing the plane nose down to the earth. It feels unnatural, and like something you’d only do if you wanted to crash. And that’s exactly what happened. We crashed.
In the moments leading up to the… hah, just kidding. It’s literally impossible to crash in a Cirrus SR-22 Turbo because, get this, each one is equipped with its very own missile-propelled parachute. Essentially, we were flying a zero-risk plane. Which I think is just so cool. Because, like, zero-risk. Hell yeah.
So anyways, we had a smooth landing and just like that, one hour in the sky had flown by.
Flying a plane was a test in focus, confidence and attention, and I am proud to say I passed (thanks to Mike). Being in control of something you thought you could never control is extremely empowering.
Shoutout to Entity Academy for this unforgettable experience and a HUGE thank you to CEO Jennifer Wangers for graciously allowing us to fly her baby.
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