musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Writing Wings

The day is hot but comfortably breezy, the sky a hazy blue, heaped with pearl-colored candyfloss clouds. Cumulus. The turbulence makers.

The place is Waterloo Regional Airport (YKF). The plane is a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, C-GTLY (Tango-Lima-Yankee), a four-seater.

The camera is loaded. The flight plan is filed. It's high noon. A good day to d— er, fly.

Shelly, my fearless instructor, finds me a headset and hands me the keys.

Tango-Lima-Yankee - the walk-around.
Tango-Lima-Yankee - the walk-around.

We do the walk-around together, making sure all the nuts and bolts and rivets are still intact. I bleed off a little av-gas from the wings and hold it up to the light. Blue. No water. This is good. Shelly shows me how to check the gas tanks with a dipstick and double-check the oil levels. We kick the tires and then make sure the propellers are smooth and the elevators, rudder, and ailerons are moving freely.

I take the pilot's seat, pushing this and pulling that, nodding as if I know exactly what I'm doing. Turn the key. Raise the flaps. Open the throttle. Follow the yellow line. No problem. This is much easier than the simulator. Feet firmly on the pedals, I weave drunkenly up the middle of the runway, but only for the first hundred yards or so... then my feet figure it out and I'm on the straight and narrow.

Not quite the same as steering a car!
Not quite the same as steering a car.

The plane ahead, another introductory flight, runs off into the ditch. Shelly says "See? You're doing great! Now, just pull back on the yoke..."

Whoop! I'm flying! Doing compass headings, finding the horizon and aiming for landmarks, turning, climbing...accidentally descending once. "Um, are we all right?" asks Shelly, hands not quite on the controls. Hey, no problem!

I'm flying!
I'm flying!

It's hot and hazy. No long distance vistas, but with so much to think about, I decide it's just as well. The turbulence isn't the bumpy kind. It feels like something grabs on and tugs, pulling sideways or giving a little shake. I'm constantly correcting to stay on course.

I fly all the way to West Montrose to see the covered bridge, then on over the Elora Gorge. Straight on till morning sounds good to me, but apparently Shelly has places to be.

The view from up there: Grand River country, Ontario
The view from up there: Grand River country, Ontario

Landing looks easy, but Shelly decides to take over just before touchdown...  something about keeping the nose up and landing with the wheels down.

What a rush! Looking back, I can't believe I was that brave. The flight gave me a whole new perspective on the challenges and joys of piloting a small plane. It was definitely the most exciting part of researching SPARKS FLY. 

Yesterday afternoon (July 30, 2013) my publisher (Montlake) surprised me with news that SPARKS FLY is now available worldwide for Kindle. I'd love it if you'd give it a try and let me know what you think.

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At 12:37 pm, Blogger Tara said...

How exciting!!!! FYI, I am a NUT about women in aviation books. I'd love to know when this releases.

At 12:37 pm, Blogger Tara said...

Nevermind! It already is. I should have read the entire article first, eh? Congrats! I'm off to share.

At 8:23 pm, Blogger Sheila Seabrook said...

YAY-YAY-YAY, it's finally here! I can't wait to reread Sparks Fly, Cheryl. I love this book. :)

At 10:02 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, Tara. Definitely the most fun I've ever had writing a book (and probably the most scared I've ever been, too). Glad you enjoyed the blog and I hope you'll enjoy Sparks Fly!

At 10:05 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

Hi, Sheila, and thanks so much for your support. I'm excited to see Sparks Fly reaching a whole new audience. Can't resist adding my own YAY! ;-)

At 1:49 pm, Anonymous susan mcnicoll said...

Cheryl this is fantastic. It is something I would love to try. What a great "living the experience" moment to aid your writing - and your life. So proud to see you soar (pun intended) for your craft. Susan

At 5:34 pm, Blogger Cheryl said...

I think it may be one of the bravest things I've ever done. Certainly the most adventurous! I highly recommend it if you ever have the chance. (And I'll look forward to hearing all about it!)

At 11:49 am, Blogger Colleen said...

Cheryl, you brought back such good memories for me!! I took flight lessons years ago and loved it. Even did my solo flight which was awesome. So glad you got the chance--there's really nothing like it. Cool!

At 11:58 am, Blogger Cheryl said...

You've got that right, Colleen. It was a once in a lifetime experience for me - I'll never forget that feeling! Thanks for reading.


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