One day back in early December I made a comment to my wife that someday I’d love to take helicopter lessons and how cool would it be to fly a helicopter. Then I completely forgot about it. Fast-forward to Christmas, and guess what my wife got me? A helicopter pilot lesson!!! Today was finally the day and I was so nervous! It’s so much harder than I thought it would be. It took forever to get off the ground. We went completely through each and every button, switch, levers, gauges, lights, and sounds. Then we had to walk through a massive list of pre-checks, engine-checks, and post checks before finally lifting off. I had never been on a helicopter before and lifting off and turning was a completely different sensation in my body – different from anything else I had experienced before. It was like butterflies, but in the opposite direction. Instead of butterflies because of falling down, it was butterflies from falling up!
My instructor’s name was Sierra, and once she gave me control of the pedals, the control, and the throttle (I don’t remember the name she used) I truly understood how much of a delicate balance of all three it required to keep the helicopter level and flying straight. Every limb on my body was trying to work together and the slightest twitch led to huge reactions in the helicopter. I was all over the place at first and it was super scary, but eventually I got a semi-handle on it and was able to fly out towards the King and Queen towers then turn, fly over some lake, and then fly back to the runway. Sierra took over the controls for landing (thank goodness!).