Tale 1: Flying for the First Time
Today is the day you've all been waiting for: 2018 June 29. Flying day.
Here at Aerial Innovations, we reach the sky through plane rentals from a company called Atlas Aviation. On this particular day, we were met by a friendly and experienced pilot named Gary.
Our trip began at an airport about five minutes from downtown Tampa on Davis Islands. There, Peter O'Knight Airport (TPF) awaited our arrival. Our destination: various spots within Kissimmee, Florida.
Our plane was a gorgeous little Cessna 182 Skylane, a four-seated, single-engine airplane. It was a predominately aluminum alloy metal aircraft. Its undercarriage housed a tricycle landing gear, with a wheel below the snout and two more wheels near the plane's center of gravity.
A drawback noticed almost immediately from the backseat, was the lack of air conditioning. Although pre-warned about the heat, it still came as a shock to me.
I remember thinking, If I get nauseous, this heat won't help at all.
There was light rain upon us already, but Gary assured us that we will be able to bypass the rain on our way to Kissimmee, Florida. The day was scheduled to be short and sweet, the plan to take pictures of construction sites and practice shots.
The ride started off smooth, albeit a little warm, but I came prepared with a squirt bottle infused with peppermint essential oil. Although slightly bumpy from winds, no nausea plagued me yet.
My eyes traveled too much, and my sense of balance did not appreciate it at all. My head had started to hurt a little bit, so I hyper-focused on spots instead.
The left wing stood strong with fragile raindrops that streaked across the metal plates. Some hesitated at spots despite the wind, while others slid off the wing altogether. I peeled my eyes away from the precipitation.
The radar projected bright colors of greens and yellows. The numbers were illegible to me, but this menial task comforted me.
The leather on the seats were a light hazelnut color. The chairs looked plush and crisp, with dotted lines along the seams. The plane jerked slightly and my orientation had started to lose its stability again.
The views were beautiful, the rain clouds painted swirly grays in the skies, the skyscrapers sparkled in the distance, and the grounds looked so serene and unreal. I couldn't help but wonder how I got so lucky. This is crazy, right?!
The heat started to feel more stifling as the day progressed. When our photographer, Ian, opened the window, I never appreciated wind more in my life. Even conjoined with pin-prickly raindrops, the air was a blessing. My beginning stages of nausea vanished, and I hoped the window would stay open forever.
Click, click. The camera captured the views. The plane tilted, but the wind counterbalanced the motion. I closed my eyes. As soon it came, the blessing vanished with a click of the window lock. The heat returned.
No, my brain protested. Bring it back.
The beginning stages of motion-causing malady reared its ugly head. My stomach felt weaker and my mouth had started to water. Swallowing my spit and clenching my teeth, I glared at the backside of the pilot's seat. I haven't thrown up on a plane, and I'm not going to do it now.
Ian had been talking with the pilot at this point, and I'd been tuning in and out of their conversation, picking up necessary tidbits. Twenty minutes away....switching off...landing in Kissimmee...
"When we land, you're going to switch with me, yeah?" Ian said. He smiled at me, and I nodded back with what I hoped was enthusiasm. We're landing soon!
When we landed at the airport in Kissimmee, we were directed on where to park.It was like parking a metal monster, and getting out of the plane in such a nonchalant fashion felt bizarre. I suppose at an airport, bringing a plane to park isn't a big deal, but still...
"So, how are you feeling?" Ian asked in the waiting area of the building.
"I'm...alright," I heard myself reply.
"No nausea or anything?" he said. "Yeah it's not too bad."
"Oh, I'm nauseous," I laugh. "But I haven't thrown up on a plane yet, and I don't intend to start now."
He gave me a bracelet that's supposed to help with minor nausea by pressing on pressure points in your wrist. When we were up in the sky again, I did not find the bracelet entirely helpful.
We headed towards SeaWorld, and I take some practice shots of the wrong construction site. Rookie move. After that excursion, we trucked--or plane-d--on.
As we flew closer, I realized how identical plots of land looked from the sky. I noticed that there was a body of water by the plot, so I tried to look for a lake. I saw about four or five small bodies of water. Gary offered to help me.
"Well, it's by a lake," Gary said. "So you look for a lake."
I swear, that was my plan!
"But you also see a road," he continued. "So you know to look for a road alongside that lake."
Of course. This is why I am the rookie.
My stomach hadn't settled down, but the stress resulted from my confusion helped distract me. I guess I looked a little pale, because both guys asked me if I was feeling okay.
"I'm a little nauseous," I laughed.
"Would you like to stop or keep going?" Ian asked.
"I'd rather stop," I said. "I could keep going, though, just by sheer willpower."
"We can head back now," was all he said.
After some more shooting with the camera on our way back, we were finally on our way towards solid ground. I was relieved to be on solid ground, disappointed in my nausea, and thankful to have been invited on such a cool trip.
Stay thankful, ya'll.