by Carly Boyd
My instructor told me everything would be fine. Just do what you’ve been doing; you can fly by yourself now. I thought about engine failure, about the possibility of collision, and, in case they were needed, I ran through all the emergency procedures we had practiced thoroughly. My heart sped up; I could feel the heat moving through my body as I started to sweat. Immediately, I became aware of how hot the day was. The sweat began fighting through my shirt and onto the warm corduroy cushion against my back. Soon, the dampness overtook my entire lower back.
Surprisingly, the airport at Birchwood was peaceful, unlike the chaos I was used to at Lake Hood. There weren’t any other pilots on the radio, nor could I see anyone flying in the circuit.
I wiped my clammy hands on my pants and gripped the yoke. I reached my right hand to the throttle, giving it just enough power to slowly turn the plane back to the runway. The humming grew louder as I increased power. I relaxed my grip a little but kept my hand on the throttle, the engine’s vibration radiating up through my fingertips. My eyes scanned the runway and taxiway for other traffic, but there was no one was in sight; I lined up for takeoff. Clearing my throat, I announced my ascent over the radio, knowing my instructor was listening in from the ground. After taking a deep breath, I pushed the throttle in full and held my left hand on the yoke, steering the plane straight down the runway. My vision bounced from the runway to my altimeter until I reached takeoff speed. I adjusted my hips in my seat, quickly double-checking my instruments. Both hands moved to the yoke, and I pulled back until I was airborne.
Carly Karin Vangstad Boyd is a third year Liberal Studies major and business minor. With a passion for the outdoors, she loves to play run and has accomplished 2 marathons. Over the last year, Carly has spent time working on getting her private pilot’s license, flying a Cessna 150. Amidst a busy lifestyle, she always makes time for good music, good books, and good friends.