One August afternoon we found ourselves in the Yorkshire countryside on a little airfield, all excited that we were about to take a microlight flight.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. Another adventure would be ticked off our list and the fact it was heavily discounted persuaded us to book it!
"You may have flown, now soar with the birds..."
"Experience the beautiful English countryside like never before..."
"You'll be surprised how safe you feel..."
Yes.. all clever advertising that, under normal circumstances, I would roll my eyes at, but as it was sooooo cheap I fell for it hook, line and sinker!
We found the reception where someone told us to wait outside and we would "be seen soon, he's just up flying at the moment". We headed outside and found a picnic table. Watching the other little planes starting up and taking off the little grass runway, we were smitten with how quaint it all was.
Suddenly, there was the whirring noise of a fan up above us. Sure enough, partly blinded by the sun, we saw a tiny microlight above our heads. Back and forth it went a few times before it came into land. From where we were sat it looked a bit erratic but it was all in one piece and no one seemed to be panicking for any reason, so everything must be OK.
High up above
The microlight was parked up and a guy (the pilot) came bouldering over to us. We could hardly hear him through his helmet but got the gist that we had to follow him. Marching us into the office he quickly took some details before giving us the shortest safety briefing of all time. This was followed by throwing some suits at us, telling us "put these on and make it quick" and marching us back to the microlight.
Before I knew it I was having a helmet placed on my head and being wedged into the little seat at the back of the microlight. A little lap belt didn't seem nearly enough safety requirement - I mean, we were in a microlight, not a 747! A quick check that the microphone and earphones were working, the guy practically sat on my lap and started the engine.
Making sure that the blood supply to my legs was suitably cut off and with a quick thumbs up all round we were off. We sped down to one end of the field before travelling at lightning speed down the field bouncing all over the place.
Ready for take off
Oh... my... lord...
So... imagine a shopping trolley with 2 seats and a sail on the top. Then add a huge fan on the back. Now imagine being sat in this thing 3000ft up with only a lap belt and the pilot sat on your lap to keep you in.
The only thing that appeared to be steering us was a pole that looked like a broom handle that had just been stolen from the closet! It looked to be jumping around more than my stomach felt like!
Now I am sure that I would have experienced the "beautiful English countryside like never before..." however I felt like a drunk on a bar stool, ready to tip over at any point. The pilot asked if I was ok and all I could muster was "I don't like heights". I barely looked down or around... and I thought 'I bet birds don't feel like this when they are soaring'.
It honestly felt like an eternity up there, but in reality was only about 20 minutes. The clouds were bubbling up around us and the microlight started jumping around fairly erratically. "The weathers changing" his voice boomed across the headphone. "If it keeps going, then I'll have to stop flying soon... too much turbulence". How I wished that there was too much turbulence now so we could land.
Eventually, we turned to make our approach to the field. The landing was... bumpy, and if the cut circulation to my legs had pre-emted the surgery, the hard thud on landed certainly could have amputated my legs good and proper.
I felt thankful to be back on the ground, and cursed that I had fallen for the "You'll be surprised how safe you feel...". Then suddenly I felt fearful as realised that it was now @markangeltrueman turn up there. No words were exchanged as the switchover was quick and he was off in a flash.
Goodbye my love
It's only natural I had thought about which one of us would die first, however, I never contemplated that I may see the end of his life as he fell out of a chair at 3000ft, but now it seemed perfectly plausible situation!
When he had his turn, and come back, he looked exactly how I had felt.
Making our way back to the car we were a bit shell-shocked and must have looked it. A passerby asked us "have you just done the microlight flight?". We nodded. He then proceeded to laugh before shaking his head and saying "ahhh... we nickname him 'Dangerous Dave'... he's a funny guy... you should try flying a proper plane"
Thanks for reading!