This week I hit a very exciting milestone in my life: for the very first time I flew on a private plane.
After a whole life of fascination for aviation, the opportunity to fly on a private airplane finally presented itself last Wednesday, November 23rd.
The pilot kindly offered to take me with him in his car on the way to the airport. I go to the agreed location where I am greeted with a big smile and provided with my headset for the flight. During the 40-minute drive, we chat about aviation, the types of planes and the life of a pilot.
As we get closer to the airfield and start seeing planes flying over us the anticipation starts to grow. In a few minutes, I too will be looking down at the cars driving below.
Arrived at the airfield, we locate our plane. We will be flying on a Robin DR400, a French plane. I get a quick tour of the other planes parked at the air club, including the Cirrus SR22, or as my pilot calls it “the Rolls-Royce of planes”.
We take care of some last minute preparation before take-off: register the planned route on the Ipad, check the weather conditions and locate the nearest airports around us.
My pilot checks the equipment inside the plane while I am outside, following his instructions to check the lights and remove the safety pins from the fuselage.
After a quick stop at the refueling station, we are on our way.
We roll up to the runway and patiently wait in line behind the other planes. We hear the tower clearing each one of them. Then finally it is our turn. The tower gives us the magic words “Alpha Bravo Charlie, cleared take-off Runway 26”. In less than 30 seconds our plane has accelerated to 110km/h, the nose is lifted and we are in the air.
Everything feels very different in a small plane. As I look out the window, I almost forget the metallic body around us and feel like a bird. The view is absolutely beautiful and I am amazed by how vast the forests are at such a close proximity to Paris. Conversation grows to a minimum as we are focused on taking in the incredible sights. The hour that we spend cruising around in the surroundings of Paris passes incredibly quickly. As the sun starts to set, we touch down on runway 26.
I frequently fly on large passenger planes but have never flown on anything smaller than an Airbus A320 before November 23rd. Flying on a small plane is a whole new experience. I look forward to my next flight on a light aircraft!