The past few days the weather has been gorgeous in Colorado. On Wednesday it was so sunny I couldn’t resist lying outside in the grass within my condominium reading 1776, doing some conf calls, and, thanks to shirtless upperbody, increasing my vitamin D intake (improving my tan didn’t cross my mind, I would never engage in such a self-indulgent activity during the workweek).
Yesterday, sitting in the Mobius office, at around 2:30 PM I looked outside and said, "It’s too nice for me to be indoors." I sent a one line email to a friend and three hours later found myself in a small aircraft flying in the co-pilot seat from Jefferson County to Cheyenne, Wyoming!
Paul Berberian, a trained pilot, took me up in his plane and we cruised around for a couple hours. For about three harrowing minutes, I controlled the plane — which isn’t that hard, actually, but still nerve racking. We flew about 8,000 feet above ground at ~250 MPH. Paul did various maneuvers, including several sharp turns, a touch-and-go in Cheyenne, and an "approach" landing at Jefferson County airport. It was a beautiful day.
Prior to taking off, as we idled on the runway, Paul outlined what we would do in an emergency. If he were to become incapacitated, for example, I should, "Pull this, grab that, press this, and then pray that I live." Got it. Pilot regulations and safety standards are quite high. I felt safe on my excursion yesterday, notwithstanding reports I’ve read about the unusually high rate of small aircraft accidents.
Commercial air travel, on the other hand, is the safest mode of transport in the world, which means most "fear of flying" is irrational (but natural, given 9/11 and the fact that you aren’t in control of the situation).
Anyway, chalk up a new life experience: flying in a small aircraft! Thanks Paul!