It's not often that an average guy gets a chance to realize a lifelong dream. But that is exactly what happened to me recently, thanks to the fine folks at Speed Stick.
It's true, as I was fortunate enough to be chosen by them to participate in the Speed Stick Gear Up Challenge. The point of the challenge was to see how the new Speed Stick Gear would hold up while the user was participating in an extreme event.
Initially, I was sent a pretty cool kit which included a GoPro camera that I could use to film some footage, a heart rate monitor and watch, and of course the Speed Stick itself. I just needed to choose the actual event.
This is where the realization of a lifelong dream comes in. Out of the options offered to me, I chose learning to fly in one day. That's right, in the course of an hour I was to learn how to fly an airplane. I have wanted to fly an airplane since I was probably Lukas' age, but never have had the opportunity.
No, I didn't actually learn to take off and land the plane in that one lesson. But I was able to take the controls and actually fly it by myself for nearly 45 minutes, circling around the Puget Sound region, climbing, diving, turning the plane, pegging a certain altitude, and racing a jetliner which had taken off from SeaTac International airport.
Okay, April Fools on that last part as my co-pilot made sure that we were never in the vicinity of any Jet liner that was actually in the air. We did however, to my surprise, cross directly over SeaTac (we had taken off from a different airport) because of the weather at the time, which included several dark and ominous looking clouds.
"Aren't there Jets landing here every minute or two? " I asked as we passed over the runways. "Yep, but we have a window to get through" my instructor let me know. Needless to say, I felt much better once we had cleared the airport.
It was at that point we turned away from the rain clouds, and flew towards the sun - its golden rays glistening over the Puget Sound waters which stretched southwards towards Olympia. I was at the controls then, and would remain there until we actually came in for our landing.
I have to say, this was as amazing an experience as I expected it to be. Sure, I felt pretty small and vulnerable from up there, looking down on the world in miniature below. But I also felt both exhilarated, and empowered too. It was definitely an experience I will remember forever.
As exhilarated as I was, I was amazingly calm during this whole experience too. And so my heart rate monitor didn't get much of a workout. Most importantly though, I didn't sweat either. At least I couldn't tell if I did, as the Speed Stick Gear did it's job nicely. I was dry.
At least until I headed back towards my car. It was a rainy day in Seattle after all.
Full disclosure: As mentioned, Speed Stick provided me with this opportunity, the lesson, and the contents of the box, including the camera and heart rate monitor. All I had to do was write about my experience. Easy Peasy.