Friday, September 26, 2014

Bring on the Spins!

I remember my first day of spin/aerobatic training like it was yesterday.  I'd heard so many horror stories of 'spins gone wrong,' so I was pretty nervous.  I'd also heard stories of people puking, and I did not want to be one of those.  Of course I didn't show that I was nervous and headed into it like any other situation- like I knew what I was doing.
I read everything on spin training that I could get my hands on, so when my flight slot in the school's Decathlon came, I was ready... nervous, but ready.  

This was not the exact Decathlon I flew, but it looked very similar to this one.

I ate a small breakfast, just incase... well, you know, and was on my way out the door.  The instructor I flew with first took me to get our parachutes.  He took me through the ropes of that (I was so glad I hadn't told my mom I was doing this!).  I distincly remembering the instructor telling me that if we got ourselves into a situation we couldn't get out of, he would give me only a few seconds to jump out first; if I hesitated he wouldn't wait.  What!?  No problem, I said, I won't hesitate.  I mean, I had to play it off cool.

No this pic isn't of me, but I'm sure if we'd had to bail, I would have looked something similar to this.  

Now, I am only 5 feet tall and at the time only weighed about 100 pounds.  The parachute straps were barely small enough to fit me and it felt like I was sitting on a couch cushion through the entire flight.  I'm sure I looked funny, but I didn't care.  And honestly, that was the least of my worries.
When we got airborne, and climbed to a sufficiently high altitude, the instructor demonstrated the first spin.  I thought I was going to die for a second- by far the weirdest sensation I had ever felt!  I remember "hanging" onto the ceiling... like there was something to grab on to, and like that something would protect me.  I felt like we were in that spin for hours, maybe even days!  And then he recovered, I realized I had survived, and I wanted to do it again!  I did the next one and it was so much fun!  I could have stayed up there all day doing those, no joke.  We did quite a few spins and then he decided to teach me some aerobatic maneuvers.  We did airleron rolls and my favorite- inside loops (at least I think that is what they are called).  You start the loops in straight and level flight and then pitch up like you are going to stall, but keep going up, up, upside down, and over.  Oh my gosh!  Such a rush.  I decided right then and there that if I could have afforded it, I would have done aerobatic training for the rest of my life.
After my flight session was sadly over, I called my mom to tell her what I had done.  As I'd suspected, she was so glad I hadn't told her sooner.  I've done plenty of spins (on purpose, of course... never by accident) since that day, but nothing was ever as fun as doing aerobatic training in a shiny red Decathlon.  So if you ever get the chance to do some aerobatic training, do it!  You will not regret it.  It might be scary at first, but once you do it a few times you'll feel like a pro!