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  • Branwen Defren

WHAT'S IT LIKE TO FLY A PLANE?

Updated: Aug 30, 2018



I first saw this photo while scrolling through Instagram and immediately knew I wanted to repost it for my Instagram account's #FriendFeatureFriday that I post every Friday (psst, follow for more here!) I met Vieno Carter while on a school trip to the Balkans during the summer of 2016. She was one of the first people I talked to in a group of complete strangers at the airport that I was eventually lucky enough to call a friend.

Where was this photo taken?

When I took this picture, I was flying over the Maine coast on a visit home to surprise my mom.


How did you get the chance to take this photo?

Vieno described to me how she grew up around planes because of her father's passion for air travel, but it had been a while since she'd been on a trip with her dad.


I was shocked at how quickly I felt comfortable in my dad's plane again - it had been years since we'd last gone up together, and even though it was an unbelievably windy day I found myself immediately easing back into the feeling of flying. I later described the flight to him as feeling like the plane was attached to a long string, with someone (handling it) high above us and constantly pulling it up and down as we maneuvered through the wind. (Even though) it was such a turbulent flight and I can be a nervous flyer, there was something so familiar about sitting in his Cessna 182 and listening to him chat excitedly through the headset (while I looked) out over familiar lakes and mountains that made me completely calm.


Have you done this before?

(Yes, it actually) made me think back on the days when I had considered getting my own pilot's license... of course I was a rather lazy, and an arrogant high school kid back then and convinced myself I didn't have enough time. I wish I had just dedicated myself fully to the training (words I can never let my father hear, because God forbid he finds out he was right I'd regret not getting it).


Have you ever flown the plane yourself?! If so, what did you practice doing most?

I practiced with him in this plane countless times, flying a little loop around the airport in my town and then approaching the runway, slowing down the plane, pushing forward the steering wheel, and touching the wheels to the pavement - just to speed up, take off, and try it all again.


What's the best part of this experience?

I'm not sure if there's a better feeling in the world than taking off in a small airplane. Increasing speed, watching trees fly by faster and faster, and eventually pulling the steering wheel towards you and suddenly facing the sky, and the land drifting away as you get that rush of adrenaline... Even when flying commercially I always wait for this moment - when all of a sudden the ground isn't beneath me anymore and I can feel the nose of the plane tipping upward.


How did you capture this particular shot?

I knew as we pitter-pattered over the coast that I wanted to capture this moment of the two of us flying home for a long weekend, full of excitement and adrenaline and a wave of nostalgia that flying in his plane brought me.


A big thank you shout out to Vieno Carter for sharing her photo & story with me!


WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT MAINE, USA


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© 2018 by Branwen Defren