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Come Fly With Me

January 26, 2009

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The purpose of The Husband taking this commissioning scholarship was to get him one step closer to being a fighter pilot.  I asked the man 7 years ago what his life dream was… “I want to be a fighter pilot and fly A-10s.”

“I will help you reach that dream.” I replied…For the previous year, The Husband has been working around the clock to maintain his 3.8 GPA as an Aerospace Engineering student and also to obtain his private pilot’s license.   

A few months ago The Husband began negotiations with my brain.  “Honey?” he’d sweetly ask, “Can you bring me dinner tonight?  I’m going to be at the airport a little late.”  “Of course!” I replied.  Thus began the moments where I would sit in a plane… with the doors open.  The next time I stopped by, I’d sit with the doors closed.  The Husband would talk to me the whole time, taking my mind off of being in a small space.

On December 29th, the gig was up.  The Husband requested that I take to the skies with him.  Not one for small, enclosed spaces I sent an SOS out to my friends, “Please say a prayer for me.”  I had people all over the country praying for me.  The last thing I wanted to do was make The Husband nervous while he was flying a small plane with me in it. 

The idea was to go to the Downtown Kansas City Airport, do a touch-and-go landing/takeoff, then fly over The Plaza to see the lights.  

As The Husband completed his pre-flight I climbed into the back seat of the plane… where I proceded to have an anxiety attack.  Knowing myself, I tried everything in my power to bring peace and calm to my mind.  As each minute passed, my breathing became more labored, the black dots appeared in my eyes indicating passing out was only inevitable. 

‘Stay calm.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  You’re fine.’ said my inner voice of reason. ‘Get the hell out!  Get out!  Get out!  You’re crazy!’  my inner voice of panick shouted.  I decided to go with the voice of panic.  “I have to get out!” I screamed.  My seat belt was realeased, I threw it toward the window and cried like a baby.  

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The instructor was in the jump seat.  He looked back at me and asked, “You aren’t clausterphobic are you?”  “YES!” I screamed.  “I can’t do this.  I can’t do this.  I.can’t.do.this!”   “Let’s taxi around for a bit, we need to check the landing gear anyway.  We’ll taxi around and if you feel okay, we’ll go… okay?” the instructor asked.  “Fine.”

We taxied around the pitch black airport for a few minutes.  Suddenly the plane was very loud.  I was being catapulted back into my seat.  Then, I was weightless, lifting into the sky. ‘Sweet mother of God.’ I thought.  ‘There’s no turning back now.  Sit back and try to relax.’  I grabbed my camera and tried to live through the lens.  ‘I’m hyperventilating.  I don’t have enough oxygen getting to my brain.  I’m going to pass out, The Husband will wreck the plane and we’ll all die.’

After an eternity a few minutes, the flight instructor turned around and gave me a questioning thumbs-up.  I’m sure the look I gave him could have killed.  Truth be told, once we started moving I was okay.  I think the realization finally set in that I wouldn’t want to get out of the plane once it started moving.  

We did see The Plaza lights that evening.  December 29th was also my grandpapa’s birthday.  He would have been 98… but instead his spirit was with me.  About 5 minutes after takeoff I looked over to the seat next to me and saw him sitting there.  He laughed that heart-warming laugh of his, winked, blew me a kiss… and then he was gone.

Our flight lasted an hour.  The prayers of my friends carried me through… gave me wings and will forever be with me.

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Of course, there will always be more adventures…

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2009 17:45

    Oh Cat – another wonderfully told story. I felt like I was sitting in the seat next to you and having a panic attack myself!
    Good for you for staying with it :)

  2. January 26, 2009 19:11

    Who slipped you the hallucinogen before taking off?

    Seriously, you know I always pray before you all take off and I believe that you are always looked after by your “angel” of the skies…..

    ….but I also know how hard this is on you, to overcome your fears and actually sit along side your love as he realizes his dreams……you are truly a very special and unique woman….he is a very lucky man.

    and I, a lucky woman to have in you….the friend I do…so when are you all gonna come fly and see me? You know I always have ulterior motives behind my words :D

    luv ya…..

    asw~

  3. January 26, 2009 20:34

    Cat, now that you’ve made the maiden voyage, I’m sure you will be asked back. Next time be sure and bring a paper sack and a bottle of wine!

    The Plaza Lights are always beautiful at Christmas.

  4. Kristin permalink
    January 27, 2009 00:06

    CONGRATULATIONS to you both!!!!!
    Wooo Hooooo!!!!!!

  5. January 27, 2009 12:10

    Goodness! Wonderfully written.
    Congratulations to all three of you, everybody did just the right things.
    My husband has been getting me to do things I thought I couldn’t for something like 45 years: scuba dive, go up in a small plane with him, climb mountains, jump out of an air plane, sail across the Atlantic in a 57′ sail boat, get off the train in Venice at 8 in the evening and find a hotel in the dark . . . you get the picture.
    Trust me hyperventilate and know you’re living life.

  6. January 27, 2009 19:15

    Oh my gosh. When I have to fly, I pictures angels surrounding the plane the entire trip and keeping us in the skies. Strangely, the smaller the plane the better I am, although I’ve never been in less than a 10-seater. I am impressed!

    BTW, you have an award at my blog. Please come by and check it out!

  7. January 28, 2009 21:50

    I’m so glad you got through it. Good for you! The part about your grandpa made my eyes water. Mine was a pilot and it made me think of him. Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure.

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