The take off
“Cabin crew, prepare for departure.” Then the plane zoomed up to the clear blue sky.
I was Wright (pun intended). The feeling was as euphoric as that of the inventors of the airplane when finally, I was flying up in the sky, over white fluffy clouds. Waiting for four hours for the check in counters to open, and then another hour for the boarding gate to let the passengers in, was all worth it.
Yes, it was my first time on a plane, so I savoured every bit and inch of the ride. Among the nine of us, only three had previously experienced it, but they were as excited as the rest of us because of the majestic Mayon Volcano awaiting our arrival.
At a little past 6 am, we checked in and sat on the pre-departure area where we took a nap since we didn’t get enough sleep during our “long” trip to the airport. But I couldn’t completely succumb to unconsciousness, for I was ecstatic about my first plane ride. Seeing the airplane right outside the window made the feeling even more intense.
So, when the airport personnel finally announced that the passengers could board the plane, I stood and picked my bags in one fluid motion.
I was so enthusiastic that I wanted to literally push the person right in front of me when the personnel were tearing off their copy of the boarding pass of a passenger after another. I even asked our photojournalist to take our picture along the ramp.
Every step towards the plane represented the beat of my overwhelmed heart. Then, as I stepped into the plane, I exclaimed to myself, “This is it!”
I looked for my seat assignment situated in the middle portion, a few inches from the right wing. I threw my baggage onto the overhead compartment and settled down on my seat, fastening the seat belt around my waist. A few more minutes and the big bird would take off.
It was gradual. At first, the plane traversed the runway at a slow pace, perhaps it was some sort of a warm up for the plane’s engines. Then, its speed suddenly increased and up it went to the sky, zooming out the scenery below which looked like a scale model from above.
Though I lacked sleep, I still didn’t give in to the temptation even if my eyes were already heavy. I didn’t want to miss any part of the flight. Staring out the window, I thought, “Before, I was just looking above at the clouds. Now, I’m flying over them!”
The turbulence was low, almost zero, so it wasn’t terrifying. But there were moments I felt dizzy when the plane did descending and ascending motions. It felt like I was chasing after my brain.
At 8:40 am, ten minutes ahead of the estimated time of arrival, the speakers cracked to life again and carried the voice of the pilot telling the cabin crew to prepare for arrival at the Legazpi Domestic Airport.
The descent was also gradual. Little by little, the view below was getting bigger which meant we were decreasing in altitude. The speed became noticeable as the view came nearer. Then, I felt the plane’s wheels touch the solid surface of the runway.
What came next caught me in awe and wonder as the breath taking view of the majestic Mayon Volcano appeared through the window. I thought to myself, “How wonderful! This is no longer a post card I’m staring at!”
Photo credits to Jennifer Velasco, Gail Mejia and myself.
COMING UP: What went in Albay
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The day that I have been waiting for has finally arrived! It’s been one of my life long dreams to ride on a plane that will take me wherever I want. I can only imagine how euphoric the Wright Brothers were during the first successful flights of the Wright Flyer.
1903 Wright Flyer
The 1903 Wright Flyer made four flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, the best covering 852 feet in 59 seconds. It was the first heavier-than-air, powered aircraft to make a sustained, controlled flight with a pilot aboard.
The Wrights used their proven canard biplane configuration which was rooted in their initial 1899 kite design. Key to the Flyer’s success was its three-axis control system, which featured wing-warping for lateral balance, a moveable rudder, and an elevator for pitch control.
The right wing was four inches longer than the left to compensate for the engine being heavier than and mounted to the right of the pilot. The wings were rigged with a slight droop to reduce the effects of crosswinds.
Gift of the Estate of Orville Wright
Today, I can be as ecstatic as they were as I board the plane that will take me and my colleagues to Legazpi City in Albay for a three-day conference. It’s my first time at the airport as well, so it’s only now that I get to see the surroundings in person. Well, first time is often the best.
But, uh oh. We’re too early for our flight. As of this writing, it’s only eight minutes past 3 am. We actually arrived here at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 at 2 am. Our departure from Dagupan City in Pangasinan was at 10 the other night, so our total travel time was four hours! Boy that was fast!
This may take a long while before we finally board our flight, but my first time on a plane is worth the wait.
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