Tag Archives: planes

Becca Don’t Fly – Tiny Plane Edition

img_4722Last week I was very sick. I started feeling bad Monday afternoon and swore up and down that I wasn’t sick. Tuesday I went to work and attempted to stay in spite of feeling like death. The doc I was working with called the practice manager and got the green light to send me home. Checkmate, I guess.

I spent three days at home, alternately having a sore throat and having a fever. I went and got antibiotics, which upset my stomach, but I was determined to make it to the Houston Half.

While I was in bed trying to will my sickness to leave my body, I got a text from my friend Richard who is literally the one person in my life with the power to make me do questionable things. He asked if I wanted him to come up in his plane and pick me up for the race. I weighed the options of being terrified of flying versus not wanting to drive 4 hours when I felt awful, and agreed to being picked up.

img_4709That is how I ended up sitting at a very small airport on Saturday afternoon with my gear bag, my hands shaking and my eyes darting from side to side. When my buddy pulled up in his plane, I was a bit alarmed. It was smaller than I expected and very delicate-looking. I was further alarmed when I saw it had a propeller. Richard threw the gear and my computer in the back seat while I put my seatbelt on very tightly and made sure the door was locked. He fitted me with a headset and checked all the little switches and knobs, then we taxied out while he told me his plan for plane failure. I thought I couldn’t get more alarmed, but then we took off.

I have never been a fan of takeoff or landing in any plane, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were both going to die in a mildly fiery crash, so the Andrew Bird song “Fiery Crash” kept playing in my head. We got into the air safely, though, and once it had been confirmed that I wasn’t going to pass out I was on my way to Houston.

Ascending to 5500 feet was a little scary, but once we were at cruising altitude I could relax a little. I still became alarmed when he got a drink of water but I’m just a nervous person. It was really interesting being in the cockpit for a change. Listening to the COM chatter was also interesting, though I had a terrifying moment when a skydiving pilot had his finger on the button and was yelling “everybody out!” That is not something I want to hear when my pilot is fiddling with knobs. Not even a little.

Watching the sun go down was actually really awesome. I was a little afraid that if I looked too far to the right I’d tip the plane over but it didn’t stop me from taking pictures of the sunset. I’ve never been in a plane where I was able to see so much of the ground as we moved over it. Usually we’re above the clouds so I read or type the entire time. We’re also usually in a bigger plane so the little shifts from the wind aren’t scaring the hell out of me, but it’s a trade off.

img_4714When we got within visual range of Houston, it was a pretty cool sight. This may be one of my favorite pictures from the flight. Landing was actually less scary than in a commercial jet (apart from when we had to turn to access the runway), because I kept thinking “we could totally survive a crash from this height.” Richard apologized for the bumpy landing but I thought it wasn’t bad. I didn’t feel the need to get hammered, so it was all good. It definitely was better than my last terrifying flight because this time everything was being explained to me and I got to listen to updates from the tower, and honestly I have more confidence in Richard’s abilities as a pilot because he is literally the smartest person I know.

The flight home was a little better, with the exception of takeoff because when all is said and done I’m still a huge weenie. There was a little more wind so I had a few frantic moments, but for the most part I enjoyed it.

img_4724I have a feeling that if I flew more in the tiny plane I would be a lot better about it, but for now let’s just be glad that I didn’t have a panic attack, and that my boss didn’t tell me about his terrifying experience in a small plane before I left. Someone at work said I had a lot of balls riding in the tiny plane. I have to answer that with a big ol’ NOPE. Also good to know for next time? I can totally bring booze on the tiny plane!

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Becca DEFINITELY Don’t Fly

Downtown Charlotte

I hate flying, as we have established. This probably goes a way toward explaining why I was sitting at my gate on Sunday getting hammered, but the rest of the trip was fantastic.

The conference itself was wonderful. I learned a lot, got to pet strange cats, and loaded myself with free swag that included a laser pointer and a mini lint roller. Cat conferences rock. I don’t know which part was better, my in-room jacuzzi or seeing a dear friend from Chicago for the first time in 10 years.

The jacuzzi in question

After the draining experience of taking two rather bumpy flights and a cab ride that probably shaved another five years off my life followed by a trek from the convention center to my hotel, I did not feel like going out for dinner. I used Uber Eats for the first time and discovered an amazing restaurant called Teriyaki Madness that was so delicious I ended up ordering it every night. It’s always nice eating in a hotel room because you don’t have to do the dishes and in my case I got to eat my dinner on the couch (yes, my room had a couch) without feline assistance.

Downtown Charlotte at night
My hotel was only about 2 blocks from the conference so after my last session I collected my things, checked out, and took my first-ever Lyft to the airport. Let me tell you, that was an excellent experience. The guy was friendly, drove fast but not terrifyingly so, and it cost about half what the cab ride did, even with tip.
A Cosmo at Gate 24

Technically you aren’t supposed to leave the bar with alcohol but I gave the bartender a good tip and went to my gate to drink. Three hours after we were supposed to take off, we re-boarded and I started having a slightly tipsy anxiety attack. I was convinced we were going to die but I honestly didn’t care as much. At least until we started to land and the booze wore off.

Then, after everything, I managed to get sick. Someone was coughing on the plane and I have a terrible immune system so I ended up coming home from work early yesterday and going to the doctor. She said it’s a virus, so much like the terrifying plane ride I just have to ride it out. The clouds do look pretty from above though.

The view from my last flight

Becca Don’t Fly

As we speak I am sitting at a boarding gate waiting for my plane to start the terrifying process of boarding that will lead to the equally terrifying process of getting on multiple planes today. I do not fly well.

Years ago, I enjoyed flying. We are talking decades at this point. It was cool to be up in the air going super fast and seeing the clouds from above. Way cooler than being stuck on a Greyhound bus with my cousins.

Then…anxiety.

When I was 14, I went to Italy for an exchange trip. It was my first overseas trip and I was looking forward to it. It was a long flight, so I brought a nice thick Stephen King book along with me. It got dark partway through the flight and I started reading The Langoliers. In retrospect this was a bad idea.

We just happened to be over the ocean in the middle of the night, making it a dark, wide expanse, when I read the bit about there being nothing under the plane in the book. Instant panic attack. I was anxious the entire rest of the flight and I still haven’t recovered.

I’m focusing on my destination, which is an amazing opportunity for me. I’ve wanted to go to this conference for almost fifteen years and I’m sure once I get there I’ll be fine. However, two planes are involved and I am not here for it.