What It's Like To Fly

Brian Hester Reporting

March 1, 2020

Linden, NJ


I have always wanted to fly. Fly in planes. Fly in hot air balloons. Fly in helicopters. Over New York City. With No Doors. I have done ALL of these things. Thanks to everyone at Flynyon for the doors off helicopter ride. My family first purchased a package for the doors off helicopter flight so that I could take photos from the sky over NYC like some sort of human drone, all because I had seen Max do it. After I took that flight, which was absolutely amazing I thought that nothing could top that as far as flights went. In that ride you can literally look down at the top of the World Trade Center of Empire State Building from above while strapped in a seat with no doors. It’s the best and comes highly recommended by Brian Behind The Lens.


Lower Manhattan at sunset as photographed from inside a FlyNyon dooroff Helicopter flight. Thursday July 12, 2018 Photo By Brian Hester

My sneakers and feet dangle out the open helicopter door high above the Freedom Tower NYC Thursday July 12, 2018 Photo by Brian Hester

The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges as seen at sunset from high above the Big Apple. Thursday July 12, 2018 Photo by Brian Hester

Last year for Father’s Day my family gave me a one-hour flight training session at a small municipal airport here in our home state of New Jersey. The know me so well. The school is Luvs Flight Training. Click here for packages. Also highly recommended. I had attempted to schedule and take this flight several times, but the instructors kept canceling due to weather and high winds. Today we finally met, and I thanked them for all the cancelation. Seriously who wants to flight when the instructor says its too windy? Who are those people? Blue skies with little of no winds for today and off we went.


Pre-flight selfie with my instructor. Photo by Brian Hester

Climbing into the cockpit for my first time flying a plane. Photo by Marianne Albarez

Today I found out what it feels like to really fly. I got to take the controls of small plane and pull back the yoke and lift the noise off the runway. I had the trusty fly instructor Isaac seated next to me and he had dual controls. Before taking to the plane participants attend a lengthy indoor classroom lesson describing the main controls, gauges and the basics of airplane operation. The classroom instructor did an amazing job providing information and confidence while covering the intended flight pattern for the day and landmarks to navigate by.

Then comes the moment of truth. The spilt second where your crazy dreams smack you in the face like the arctic air whipping across the sun-soaked runway on a sunny Sunday morning. Oh hell. What am I doing? Followed closely by Oh that’s right I got this. Times like this I usually recall my telephone pole climbing training. Four times a day, top of the pole, with hooks on. To date learning to climb telephone or utility poles with spikes was / had always been the training standard I held myself to, meaning, If I could learn to do that, I can do anything. Today that marker was replaced. Flying the plane was life changing. I can not recommend this activity highly, pun intended, Highly enough.

Ready to roll Photo by Isaac the Instructor

I climbed into the cockpit followed by my instructor, Isaac. We both got comfy, put the head sets on, adjusted the mics, adjusted the seats, like I was driving someone else’s car, no rearview mirrors to check, that was a joke. I needed a joke at that point as I was feeling the adrenaline coursing through my vans. Flip this switch, check that gauge, hit the ignition, easy, just like in the classroom. No. Not at all. The engine roars to life. And it’s only a small engine.

We rev up the engine and start taxiing slowly, at first, down the towards the runway. Oh hell, I was turning the damm plane? The instructor was cool as dang cucumber though. Walked me through straighten out turning properly within 4 or 5 seconds. Very smooth. Now I felt I was driving. It was an incredible rush. I was in control of the aircraft, but we still had not left the ground.


Taxi to take off. Photo by Marrianne Albarez

We pulled up into position and waited for a few planes in front of use. I could hear the communication between the tower and the other planes as I watched them taxi and fly off into the clear blue sky. Then, a pause, I knew we were next but that pause seemed to last forever, we got our clearance. Full power on the throttle. Engines really roaring now. Rolling down the runway, picking up speed, surprisingly enough, only about 75 to 80 mph when I start pulling back the yoke and pitching the nose of the plane up off the ground and the plane suddenly lifts off the ground and starts flying. This second was one of the highlights I feel I will remember for the longest time. I kept the yoke back and the landscape in front of me just seemed to fall away. Then time to level it off. Holy smokes!!!


Taking flight for the very first time. Photo by Marianne Albarez

I am flying an airplane looking out at New York City and most of northern New Jersey. We fly straight for a minute or two and then past our first landmark, occasionally checking the gauges but more feeling how to fly the plane by sight. The first turn in the sky, Whoaaaa…. Not gonna lie, You must show respect for the training at a point like this. Once you engage in the turn and the plane starts to turn your have to come out of the turn as well or the plane will simply continue and roll, which is not good. Ok made it through first turn, tilted the plane saw the shift, straighten her out. Next landmark, the NJ Turnpike. For years I have watch planes fly above the Turnpike, never did I ever think I would be flying one. Now keep in mind the Linden airport is about six miles further south down the Turnpike from Newark Liberty Airport. Next up a third turn. And then a fourth.


A pilot in training, Brian Hester, comes in a little to steep for an approach at Linden Airport. Fortunatly he corrected in time and preformed the touch and go sucessfully. Photo by Marianne Apbarez

Now we are flying back to the airport. Towards the runway for our first attempt at landing. I have been well coached on what to expected. Not to panic if things appear way to close. To resist the urge to pull the yoke back up as you approach but rather to slowly settle it down. I know that the instructor has the controls as well and he has made it clear if he asks me too let go and let him have control that he will make it right. But he doesn’t stop me, he just walks me through the entire process like it was me teaching my kids how to parallel park the family car. Over the gigantic refinery storage tanks, lower, over the barb wire security fence, so close you see license plates, and then bump, bump. Roll, back on the ground. But only for a split second as this was the touch and go we learned. It’s a classic fly training maneuver in which trainees take off and land repeatedly while gaining flying time and experience.


Brian Behind The Lens, on his way, going above and beyond to bring readers a story, speeds along the runway in a touch and go manuver. Photo by Marianne Albarez

The second round of the flight pattern from the take off through to the landing was at least 100 time more incredible than the first round as I felt much more in control of the plane. I was flying. An airplane. Looking out the window at New York City. What? I can not wait to go back.


Back on the ground and taxiing towards the terminal after a successful first flight lesson. Photo by Marianne Albarez

Climbing out of the plane post flight, as always, sporting my Roll Model 52 Hoodie Photo by Marianne Albarez

Sporting the Classic Roll Model 52 Hoodie post flight. Photo by Marianne Albarez

I believe public transportation is available to this location from NYC as well as reasonable app based rides. Well worth the trip. Make your reservations today as this is sure to sell out this spring and summer as one of NYC in crowds most must have experiences.

It was very interesting. And not super expensive. Click here to learn more of book directly with Luvsflying Flight Training. I think there may still be groupon available ?

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