Why “Am I High”?

Sara Koelemay of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, wrote a beautiful essay for a high school class describing her first flight experience titled, “Am I High!”. Thank you, Sara, for finding your essay for us to publish.  Sara has now finished college and is a teacher in Wisconsin.

Author of First Flight Essay, Sara Koelemay

This story has been inspired by Dave and Wanda Zuege.  Thank you for everything!
 
 Am I High?
 
As I gaze out the window, my breath is taken away by the beauties of the world below.  It is the world that is scarcely ever seen.  It is the world from the air.  What lies beneath me are the gentle rolling hills, forests ever so green, and the ripples of the azure waters which glisten in the suns rays.  The white puffs of clouds are all around me gliding through the wings of the plane.  A warm sense of happiness flows through the blood of my body which makes me put a big smile on my face. 
 
I look over at the pilot and thank him for sharing this wonderful experience with me.  He smiles back at me and says, “Sarah, the plane is yours” and then without hesitation, he takes his hands off the yoke.  Shocked, I just sit there and stare at him for a few seconds and then I grab the yoke.  Not knowing that my second hand was going to be batted down by the pilot, he explained, “Sarah, you are only supposed to fly an airplane with one finger!”  He then explains that by only flying with one finger you are less likely to over adjust the plane.  All you need is one small movement of the yoke to make the plane move.  Believe it or not you also fly the plane with your feet.  The pedals on the plane can make slight adjustments to the right or to the left.  This makes it hard to get into a car after flying because you try to steer the car with your feet!
 
            I look out the window at the land below and I see great waters ahead of me.  We are about to cross Lake Michigan.  Boats are everywhere, they seem like little specks from where we are.  The pilot looks at me and says, “Sarah, we are about ten miles from the airport so it’s time to make the first radio call.” 
 
I look at him and say, “You mean you want me to make the call?”  He laughs and smiles back at me.  My heart is pounding so hard that I swear you could see it through my shirt.  I click the little button and somehow these words come out of my mouth, “Washington Island traffic, Cherokee 1682 Juliet ten miles west of the airport, inbound for landing, Washington Island.”
 
            The excitement rushes through my body as we begin getting ready for the landing.  Landing is by far the most exciting part about flying.  There is so much that needs to be done in order to land and it feels so good to be able to do it all.  It is now time for me to do the next announcement.  “Washington Island traffic, Cherokee 1682 Juliet three miles west of the airport, we’ll be flying over the airport and then enter a left downwind for runway 32.”  The runway is unlike any other runway I’ve seen before.  I expect to see this big long blacktopped runway for our landing and what do I see?  It is only a small little grass runway!  Now I’m really excited because this is something I’ve never experienced before.  “Washington Island traffic, Cherokee 1682 Juliet entering final for runway 32.”
 
            Excitement rushes through my body as we have yet another amazing landing.  I look over at the pilot with a great smile and acknowledge his great landing.  What a flight it has been!
 

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