I'm a pilot, baby

Wanaka Travel Blog

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Next stop with the Green Kiwi Express: Wanaka. A beautiful but rather small laketown on New Zealand's South Island, but the one stop I had been waiting for since I arrived in Christchurch. I had a mission in Wanaka, a dream to fullfill: to fly an airplane.

My first flying experience was when I was about six or seven years old. We flew to Grand Canaria, one of the spanish isles of the coast of Africa. I remember getting a Transavia colorbook complete with colouring pencils. The good old days. Later we flew more often and the more we did it, the more I began to enjoy it, although it was not all fun and games. I was prone to moving sickness at the time and experienced quite some anxious moments in the sky.

Alright alright, Ape is a pilot too
 The older I got the less I got affected by moving sickness, and now I'm enjoying flying to the fullest. To feel the airplane accelerating down the runway, to be gently pushed back in your seat, the nose going up, looking sideways out of the window, rushing past the airport.. and then your off. Free.

So when I saw the flyer (Flyer! Hah!) for U-Fly in my hostel in Christchurch, I was determined not to miss that once in a lifetime experience. I simply had to do it. When we took of from Franz Josef to Wanaka, I booked my flying experience and started to get pumped, stoked, buzzed, whatever you want to call it. I couldn't wait to go and actually fly a plane. At five in the afternoon Wayne the flight instructor picked me up at the hostel and drove to the airport.

Flying my own plane in Wanaka, New Zealand. Check 2:43
I had thought that I would get an extensive briefing on safety, flying instructions and on what not to do, but my training was surprisingly swift. We immediately climbed in the aircraft (a Tecnam aircraft powered by a 100 hp Rotax 912 engine, and no, don't worry about googling that) and Wayne explained all the meters and gauges to me. I got to steer to aircraft to the runway where Wayne took off and after climbing less than half a minute handed the controls to me. I kept on climbing, than steered the plane over Wanaka and Lake Wanaka.

Things to do before I die: flying an aircraft: check

Flying a plane is amazing. Flying itself I find surreal, but being able to steer a plane myself, pierce the clouds, seeing everything from my cockpit seat: beyond words. The only way that I could describe it is Apesome! Who would have thought they would ever let me fly a plane? Ridiculous.

I'm a pilot, baby
Before we took off I was afraid that Wayne would fly most of the time, handing me the controls for short periods, me being the co-pilot. It turned out to be the other way around: I was the pilot, he the co-pilot, only taking the controls when I asked him to. I was completely free to fly wherever I wanted. Wayne would give me instructions to maintain the altitude, but that was it. He was mostly filming it and laughing at me in a friendly way because I was so stunned by the whole experience. He was really enjoying it to be in the plane with me, as I was, too.

After 45 minutes of flying myself I lined the plane up for the landing and Wayne put the baby on the ground. I taxied to the hangar, and we took some photo's in front of the plane. This was one of the coolest things I ever done in my life. I couldn't get the grin off my face afterwards. I'm a pilot baby!!

A FRIGGIN PILOT!! HAAAH!

djc81 says:
Was it expensive? It looks like an awsome thing to do and tell your freinds and familey about
Posted on: Oct 11, 2009
Ape says:
Thank you my friend!
Posted on: May 18, 2008
mikevirgo0824 says:
"I couldn't get the grin off my face afterwards. I'm a pilot baby!!"

COOL!!!!!!!

Love the video!
Posted on: May 18, 2008
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Alright alright, Ape is a pilot too
Alright alright, Ape is a pilot too
Flying my own plane in Wanaka, Ne…
Im a pilot, baby
I'm a pilot, baby
Me and my plane
Me and my plane
Lake Wanaka
Lake Wanaka
Wayne and Me
Wayne and Me
Celebrating my Pilotness that night
Celebrating my Pilotness that night
Ape joined me in the sky
Ape joined me in the sky
The cockpit
The cockpit
Wanaka
photo by: Koralifix