The Bravest Moment of My Life
Have you ever dared yourself doing something out of the extraordinary? Like flying in the air with only a big cloth and few pieces of metals supporting you? I did, and it was the bravest moment of my life.
It started with a simple invitation to have a fun weekend with friends. One friend of my mine works in an aviation club and she said she could provide us with free rides. Like anybody else who was offered something free, I readily accept. Who wouldn’t? I could have fun without spending a single thing as these rides cost a fortune. Yet I could honestly say that I did not really know what I was agreeing to, neither did my friends. What we only knew was that their aviation club had small planes for touring around the city.
When that afternoon arrived. We were welcomed by two-seater small helicopters with open and closed cockpits as well as two-seater paraglider with a small motor attached to it. As my friends were with me and we were open to having a new experience, we dared ourselves to give it a try. That time, there were other tourists flying and all the closed cockpit ones were already booked thus we ended with the open ones. The open cockpit helicopter is called Gyrocopter and the paraglider with a motor in it is actually called a Weight-shift flex-wing microlight. There were four of us who were to ride that day. Two were to ride the gyrocopter and my luck made me one of the two people who were to ride the weight-shift flex-wing microlight.
The Gyrocopter, if you have not seen one yet, is just a very small helicopter, fit to seat two people. The cockpit is open so when you spread your arms wide, you will only grasp air. It looks like a big toy yet it flies. Your safety relies on the expertise of the pilot, the seatbelt, and the helmet. At least it has rotors in it which makes you feel a little safer because it looks more reliable than a cloth.
The Weight-shift flex-wing microlight, on the other hand, can also only hold two people. One is the pilot and the other is the passenger. The seats are aligned vertically and the width is just big enough for one person to sit comfortably. It also has an open cockpit and the only thing that will help it fly above air is a thick cloth with an arrowhead shape supported by metal rods attached to its body. The pilot does not have buttons to control but just a vertical rod connected to the wings to control its direction. It does not really inspire much confidence, right? Yet the thrill of the moment, fueled by the cheers for courage by my friends, plus a handsome young pilot vouched by my friend who works there, enabled me to sit in the passenger seat and attached the seatbelt with my nervous hands. The helmet was brought down on my head. The beat of my heart is louder than the motor and I could barely hear the pilot when he gave instructions but, I was grinning from ear to ear either by fear or excitement. It was really happening. The pilot signaled a thumbs up and I gave him mine then off we went. One second, the tires were still touching the runway and another second, we were lifted in the air.
I think I shouted a lot when the paraglider was still gaining some altitude. It was a bizarre and crazy feeling of hanging in the air and only gripping the side metal frames of my seat for support. I was gripping them so hard that my knuckles were almost white. The cold air seeps through my thick clothes as it was nearly winter that time. But when I had overcome the millions of worries that rack my brain and the tension was relieved through all the shouting, I started to look down. The view was exhilarating. I can see the buildings and the green patches of oases amongst the vast reddish brown sand. On the other side, a deep blue ocean gives a great contrast. Small cars are running on the long winding roads. I was experiencing a bird’s eye view and I suddenly envy them.
To be able to fly freely, experience the cool air, and being able to enjoy the great view of the landscape is the greatest feeling I have ever felt at that time. It was also the bravest challenge I have dared yet in my lifetime. Maybe someday, I’ll try skydiving as well. Would you dare to try?