Jacob pilots his first flight

For the last three or four years, our nephew Jacob has expressed interest in becoming a pilot. Whether in the Air Force or privately, he’s been all about flying his own planes.

Similarly, Chuck has been interested in getting his pilot’s license and churning that into a career/hobby down the road. He’s already had a few lessons in an attempt to slowly chip away at that goal.

It occurred to us last year that providing Jacob with his first official flying lesson could help shape or shift his dream of becoming a pilot. Though it took us a full year to sort it out, we finally made it happen last week while they were in town.

airplanes this way

Of course, he was nervous! Who wouldn’t be? Piloting a Cessna is far different from flying commercial. With Uncle Chuck in the plane, along with a qualified instructor, he accepted the challenge.

Walking to the plane

The lesson included the full scope of flying, including a pre-flight equipment check.

Last check

Preflight checklist

TINY LITTLE COMPARTMENT. Not my cup of tea, but whatever!

Systems check

And they’re off! We were a bit anxious on the ground, even though Jacob was in good hands. That’s an itty, bitty tiny plane right there.

Taking off

In the sky

Once they were out of sight, we had about 45 minutes to hang out and wait. Fortunately Chuck took some photos inside the cockpit with Jacob’s hands on the steering wheel, or whatever it’s called.

Jacob flying

Gatlinburg from above

When they finally circled back to the city, we felt a sweet relief that they’d be back on the ground in moments.

Coming in to land

Back on the ground

I could hardly wait to hear about the experience, so it took all of my strength not to bombard Jacob with questions, like, “Did you love it? Was it scary? Was it fun? Was it what you expected? Do you still want to be a pilot? WAS IT THE COOLEST THING EVER IN YOUR LIFE? LET ME HUG YOU!”

Chuck and me with Jacob

Yes, he loved it. Yes, he still wants to be a pilot. Yes, it was both fun and scary. Yes, we get major props for being an awesome aunt and uncle. 

We had dinner with my sister and her family afterward, then said our goodbyes. The visit was brief but memorable. I sure hate the distance between our two cities.

Here are the rest of the turkeys…

Bunch of turkeys

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