I am not one of those people who have a fear of heights or flying. I jumped off the cliff at Rick's Café in Jamaica, have been parasailing in Mexico, and really want to try skydiving but haven't gotten around to it yet. So naturally when Hamptons.com was contacted to take a flying lesson at a local airport I was in.
Through Let's Go Flying, an online database of 3500 flight schools nationwide I found out that Sound Aircraft Services
in East Hampton was the closest airport which offers a flight school. So on a gorgeous day, my brave photographer Megan McKendrick
who was not afraid to get in a plane that I would be flying and I set out to take a private flying lesson. Now I really didn't have any idea on how much control I would actually have of the plane during the lesson until meeting my FAA Certified Flight instructor who to my delight told me after takeoff and getting to a safe altitude I would be able to steer the plane by myself with of course her close supervision.
While walking up to the charter plane and getting into the four seater it dawned on me that soon I would actually be flying a plane. Not many people can say they have flown a plane so I was in a pretty unique and amazing situation. After helping prepare the plane for takeoff our instructor turned the plane on, cleared us for takeoff with ground control and we were off. The takeoff was a lot smoother than I thought it would be in such a small plane, I expected it to be pretty bumpy so I was pretty impressed. As we reached the proper altitude our instructor was explaining what the controls in the plane do and why she was adjusting them. It was very informative and a lot of which had to do with terms I learned in physics like barometric pressure, so I listened but if she gave a pop quiz I don't know if I would pass. After taking a scenic trip over Sag Harbor Village, trying to find my house without success but finding Megan's, we headed back to East Hampton and finally it was my turn to take the controls.
The plane was set up like a drivers education car so it did have a steering wheel and pedals on both sides in case I wanted or needed assistance but directing the plane was surprisingly easy. To move left and right you used a pedal on the ground and as I flew alongside the ocean over the gorgeous mansions which line it, the surreal experience sunk in.
After controlling the plane for about 15 minutes by myself, we were close enough to the East Hampton airport and I unfortunately had to give control back to my instructor so she could land the plane which ended the incredibly fun experience. For anyone who likes to fly or is remotely interested in planes I would highly recommend trying an introductory flight lesson.
At Sound Aircraft Services you can take an introductory flight lesson, train to get your private, instrument, or commercial pilots license, take an aerial tour of the East End on a sightseeing flight or if you have your pilots license you can rent an aircraft.
With the holidays coming up if you know someone who you would think would enjoy a flight lesson or sightseeing flight Sound Aircraft does have gift certificates available which personally I think would be a pretty great gift. Not in the Hamptons and still want to take a lesson? Find the closest flight schools near you on Let's Go Flying's website: www.aopa.org
. For more information on Sound Aircraft visit: www.soundcraft.com
Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com