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Kids flying airplanes- what is this world coming to?!




One of Stephen's birthday gifts was a discovery flight from his big sister, Mercedes Ciel Nicole, known as Berstecher to her Navy SeaBees.  This gift definitely made the EPIC list and will be next to impossible to top. Not that I'm competitive.  Oh, wait, how silly of me to forget- I AM!
When we arrived, child and camera both charged up, we were told that the pilot taking Stephen up would spend fifteen minutes preparing Stephen before the flight.  We let Stephen know that if he wanted to be allowed to fly the plane, he would have to focus on the pilot's instructions- no bouncing around the room, no jokes about what he was told.  Basically, the 'If you're having fun, you aren't doing it right' speech. He was all prepped for a boring fifteen minutes of holding still when the pilot came out. 

He said hello in the most authentic Australian accent, then he walked Stephen over to the plane.  "Okay," I told Eric, "I guess the lesson is going to be in the Cessna.  Maybe we can watch through the windows?"
The pilot handed Stephen a cushion to raise him up in the seat, and a headphone set to communicate with. 

And then, ten seconds later, which by my reckoning, was exactly fifteen minutes short of a lesson, the engine engaged and they waved goodbye to us drop-jawed folks left outside of the plane.


And we just stood there letting it all happen. We snapped out of the shock and pressed the record button as the plane taxied down the runway.

We- or maybe it was just me- thought the plane would circle around in sight and we'd zoom in with the camera so Stephen could have memories of how cool he looked flying.
But within three minutes Eric was recording clouds.  The Cessna was long gone.

Wow, our son was flying around in that tiny airplane!
For the next forty-five minutes we twiddled our thumbs and recorded every plane that came back to the runway in case it was him.    
When he finally landed we were as excited as he was. "Tell us all about it! What did you get to do?"

What he did was fly out over the city, learn how to perform a barrel roll and a loop de loop and then land the plane.
How does one teach a never-flown-before ten-year-old person to do a loop de loop?  Simple.  They make sure their life insurance is paid up and prey to whatever God they hope is listening. 

Or, according to Stephen, they instruct him to push the yoke down to gain airspeed and once the nose is aimed at the ground and the plane is accelerating beyond control, yank the controls back up and just a tiny bit to one side, and ta'da, that kid is doing a loop de loop.  Yeah, that sounds like a dry pair of pants coming in for a landing. 
I never once thought my son would be doing loop de loops on his first run.     

That was AWESOME!
It turns out that being ten, he was still too short to operate the ailerons (foot controls).  But it was a brave pilot to let him have control of the yoke for such daring fun!
And since he was kind enough to bring my son back whole and very, very happy, I think we’re going to try that activity again!
I’ve included a video of Stephen sharing his experience. 





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