Boundless, limitless, and pure adrenaline. Alone... that is all it takes for a pilot to understand themselves. All they have between them and the ground is a set of metal wings.
Once someone has tasted the freedom of flight, there is no turning back. That addiction gets buried deep within the flesh. Many people always ask me why I fly. Just recently, I have began to work on a project that includes this rather rhetorical question: why do I fly? Those wings are bound to take us all somewhere, and that is home. While this past little while I have been awaiting my once in a lifetime solo flight, it finally came true. Being able to fly myself has led to so many more openings in my life. Here is my small description of everything I felt.
Breathe... in, out, in, out, then back in again. "You are now solo." My CFI confirmed to me as I just sat there in the left seat. Breathe, relax, then just soak up the moment. The heart was beating hard within my chest as I heard his words. Nothing seemed real until he got out of the plane. Is this fake? The second I latched the door shut was the second it was just me in the 215 horsepower Cirrus SR-20. The realization hit, and so did a tiny tear realizing that I really wasn't alone. My eyes gazed back through the rear window at my CFI standing on the apron. What am I even doing? I knew it, I knew what to do. This is it: I am solo.
"Saint George traffic..." I began making my initial radio call over CTAF to announce my intentions to taxi on Alpha to the active runway: 19. The wheels beneath began to roll as my small hand moved the throttle forward about a quarter inch. Lining the plane up on the taxiway line became easy as it began to pick up ground speed. I got it. The moment I pulled up to the hold short line was the final moment of realization. I am indeed flying without my instructor.
That initial thrill of making the radio call to take off of the runway raised the tiny hairs on my arms when the moment solidified into something real. Once those wheels rolled as I pushed the throttle forward... it felt amazing. One... two... three... full power. Everything was clear for a perfect takeoff. Absolute joy overcame my body and all nervousness was immediately resolved once my wheels left the ground. Okay, okay, control yourself, it is time to not get excited quite yet... you have to fly the plane. The feelings rushed my veins as my mind entered a euphoric state right before turning crosswind. "Saint George traffic, solo ten turning left crosswind, runway one niner, Saint George." My voiced echoed over frequency.
I knew and I could feel that the airplane had optimal performance due to the frigid air that was present. With that being said, before I knew it I had reached traffic pattern altitude. The feeling of being that high up alone was amazing. The blood in my veins pumped as I focused during the entire duration of the flight. Time seemed to be ticking by very rapidly. Crosswind became downwind, and downwind became base, which meant final. That was when the real pressure was on. "Don't think, just do." The words of Maverick from the newest Top Gun movie echoed in my mind. Pitching for 80... line up with centerline... have to get it perfect... right on the money... PAPI is lined up. I felt confident as the plane entered the present ground effect. Slowly apply back pressure as the plane nears the runway's surface.
"Use your fear... it can take you to the place where you store your courage." -Amelia Earhart
Once I felt the back mains touch the ground I knew I had just made my most perfect landing... solo. My mind re-calibrated back to the scenario of flying the plane. That feeling ran deep within my bones as the front wheel touched the surface oh so gently. Coming to a complete stop, performance was analyzed and on the go calls were made. This is the best thing ever -the best moment of my life. That feeling never left my body as I made the second lap in the pattern.
Abnormal peace came to me as I turned my crosswind. Mountains glistened against the sun in the distance. Clouds were floating above, of course, much higher than I was. Somehow that feeling still remained in tact. My eyes saw the small planes taxiing to the runway as I visually scanned for traffic. Nothing here, just wide, open, and blue skies. My emerald green eyes checked and cleared the standard 45 degree entry on the downwind right before I turned my downwind leg. Still there was no one. When I looked over, checking my right side, there was no one in that right seat. There it was... empty. It still felt as if someone was there, but to no avail: nothing.
The mutual feeling of peace rolled over my shoulders as I came abeam. Completing everything for a normal landing, I appeared to be on perfect glide slope once more on final. My heart fluttered with joy as the runway was made and I made the decision to land. Once again, it was light and fluffy like the clouds. I couldn't believe that I was actually solo, alone in the plane. With every radio call I made, I was adequately describing everything for effective announcements. One last time? Does this really have to be over now?
The final pattern loop I had to do sunk deep within my soul due to the fact that I did not want to stop. My soon exhilarating moment was now soon going to be over. Okay, there is another plane on the runway... extend! Every second and every choice was in my hands, but I loved it. I realized something about myself: I can absolutely do hard things. I don't need to be scared of anything. Soloing an aircraft is a huge feat for the first time. There is no feeling like making the first takeoff and the last landing while being solo. That last landing really hit home for me and made the experience even more real.
The radios came alive congratulating me on my first solo, which made me a little bit more overjoyed. The truth is, you never really feel alone -at least I didn't. That right seat never truly felt empty. The entire time I felt free. The reason why I fly really did come alive that fateful day that I soloed. Never in my life did I think I would make it this far, but let alone, here we are. Anything is possible and everything is good. The entire flight was pure bliss for me. Feeling that sense of belonging in a place where I have always wanted to be caught the attention of my heart, mind, and soul. One moment can change a life, but did you know that fulfilling a passion can change many? Soloing the Cirrus SR-20 was hands down, the best moment in my life. There's no other feeling like that one felt high in the sky, presumably alone.
I can wholeheartedly acknowledge and state that I was not alone in that plane. The feeling of peace was what I could use to accurately describe it all. While this is only a tiny tiny excerpt of what happened and what I felt, this will for sure go in my memory book for a lifetime to come. All of this has been edited and severely consolidated to curate a piece that evokes the true emotions that ran through my veins that day. Every second was as if I was being lifted up by some magical force beneath me. The moments I would scan for traffic I would sit back and only realize no one it there.
Making my first takeoff and the last landing really sealed the whole experience. There has been nothing other like it. The power of saying solo over the radios emphasized that it is possible. I realized that even though something may seem unachievable, it really is achievable. Faith, determination, and effort really seals the deal when it comes to life. I truly believe that every aspect of life is amazing in its own ways. Without a doubt, it was such a huge challenge getting here, but it sure was worth it.
On this blog I love to emphasize the statement "flying is freedom, freedom is flight." I did have a deep connection to both the denotation and the connotation of that sentence. However, it was not until I soloed that everything really did make sense. The feelings were so warm in my heart. I am beyond grateful for this epiphinacal moment in my life. The acumen that I have gained from this experience has surely made me understand myself even more. Why do I fly? I fly because the sky is my home, and the action of flying really does make me have the feeling of pure freedom. They sky is my home, and my place to live. No, no I do not have wings, but I sure know how I can get some. In my auspicious feats this week are sure to lead to several more down the runway. I know for sure that the sky sends the feelings of heaven down upon me when I am flying. My soul feels that connection to God wherever I am flying and whenever I look up at the sky. After all, the sky is the heavens.
I am a very fortuitous individual, who has so much to be thankful for. I would like to thank my family, friends, followers, neighbors, classmates, and everyone who has helped me along this journey. Special shoutout to my family, who is always there by my side no matter what. Thank you so much to my flight instructor for teaching me the ways of the sky this semester. This has been the most rewarding journey of my life so far. The amount of support and kindness I get is so amazing. So, thank you all so very very much.
Absolute insanity... innate beauty, but it feels so real. The blood rushing through veins as the heart pumps, curating a rush of adrenaline. The body feels unborn... unnatural -yet so feeble. Rushes of near preposterous feelings travel through as the plane maneuvers through the sky. The thoughts range deep within the mind about whether or not if these feelings are real, or just merely false. However, the realization hits that being 8,000 feet up is just solely different. Questions arise as each second pass. The blood rushing through the veins is injected with some sort of 'final frontier' of thoughts. Continuing the flight adds to the ridiculous perpetual motion of reoccurring thoughts. This is what I want... what I live for... what holds my breathe still to this day. -Jetta
While the statement above is very deep and quite hard to decipher, it is merely the closest way that I can describe aviation. Every moment spent up in the sky is a small dose of freedom. I remember when jettAV8R was in its early stages of development it was reigning deep on my mind just what I should use for an inspirational site 'motto' so to speak. I really wanted something that would show my feelings towards this indefinitely perfect subject and action of flight. After multiple drafts of recounting words that were short, sweet, and to the point, I finally hit the breaking point...
Every second of everyday the first thing I think about and the last thing I think about has to be flying. Moments of my life are spent recounting the 'glory days' of taking some of my first flights across the pacific ocean to an island chain called Hawaii. The vast array of clouds captured my soul and took hold of my heart. There is an all too famous saying that goes something like this, "memory is pure treasury." While there are several memories imbedded in my mind, it is only obvious that some of the most prominent ones have to do with flying. There is just something so deep about flying that just resonates with my spirit.
While in the midst of choosing a motto to use everyday, I pondered several questions regarding my experience in the air. As a history-science enthusiast I always love to look back in time, which is always accompanied by the question scientists always ask, and that is "why?" While in the middle of revisiting past and present aviators 'words of wisdom' regarding the concept of flight I realized that there is one word and one concept that every aviator brings up. Taking the time to look this over and look at the bigger picture -after reading through thousands of quotes- I finally found the word: freedom.
Many people ask themselves a popular question: 'what does freedom mean to me?' This specific question always gets pulled up in my enrolled college courses here at university. Well, what does freedom mean to me? In the constitution it specifically states that people have the rights to 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.' Sure that has something to do with freedom, in fact something huge with freedom. However, as each of our definitions of freedom is vastly different, I can definitely denote and declare mine. My personal definition of freedom solely has to do with flight.
Amelia Earhart said, "There's more to life than being a passenger." While this was really apart of my life epiphany that I had about 6 years ago, it is also a part of this 'freedom.' See, since the near beginning of time people have been chasing their dreams, goals, hopes, and ambitions. I know this because I am one of them. Now, I would also like to denote that chasing those things brings forth so much happiness and freedom. In order to expand further on my definition of freedom I always find and remember my happy place in the sky.
Ever since I was young I have strictly held a place in the sky. My heart belongs up there, my soul yearns to touch the sky, and my mind attempts to fathom life up there. It was not until the cold month of December in the year 2016 I took a trip to Kauai in the Hawaiian island chain. Little did I know that this trip would change my life forever -it would never be the same. Every moment was even better than indulging in some of the sweetest delicacies on the planet. My mind pondered as I even stepped a foot into Salt Lake International Airport. This new world with a vast array of seemingly endless possibilities was opened to me -it was as if the door opened and it was calling my heart to come.
Ever since that day I have long prospered over the question: 'what does freedom mean to me?' Personally, it is flight. Everything that has to do with flight has long captured my soul and my attention beyond any means. Whilst coming up with this sort of quote for my newfound blog, I pondered that question for hours. Upon reading thousands of excerpts from famous aviators, studying for hours, and just thinking for days, I finally came up with it -that tag line that would fuel my passion even further.
While it seems like maybe a cheesy back line to a romantic movie where the pilot is desperately in love with the sky, this line has thousands of hours behind it infused with my deep passion. The one thing that lit my spark, the one thing that called me home, and the one thing that kept me going: aviation. At last, maybe this is a 'cheesy' romantic story where the pilot is deeply in love with the sky, but without a doubt in my mind, flying is indefinitely, always, and forever, purely, and forever more... freedom.
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My name is Jetta, and I am a student pilot currently attending Southern Utah University to become an airline pilot. Join me on my journey from zero to the left seat.