I usually go all out for any kind of celebration, but I promised Adam I would not go overboard this year. So for Adam’s big 27th birthday I had to be simple, which meant buying him a flight lesson to fly a plane in Maryland! In my defense, this really is me being simple, yet creative!
Ironically I came about this because I wanted to buy Adam something other than clothes, cologne, shoes, the usual stuff he finds boring and for gift giving so do I. After going on so many amazing adventures during our long summer vacation to Europe I wanted the adventures to continue. Just because we were no longer on vacation didn’t mean we had to stop being adventurous. This led me to Groupon, you would be surprised of the great deals you can find here, sure enough I have twice. I came across a flight school that allowed guests to learn and actually fly a plane. I thought, “wow this would be awesome!” So then I searched and found a better deal and flying school that had all amazing reviews and would allow me to sit in the plane to enjoy all the fun too. Besides Adam flying a plane on his birthday we even got 4x the Chase Ultimate Rewards Points – booya!
Washington Flight Academy
The Washington Flight Academy is located at Montgomery County Airpark in Maryland. From Alexandria, Virginia the drive was about 45 minutes long and very easy to get to. As soon as we were in the Washington Flight Academy’s driveway we could see the airstrip and all the planes. Our excitement was building…
We checked in at the front desk and were quickly assigned our pilot, Herman. Herman took us out to the airstrip to meet our plane, N8445S – it was a maroon and white piper plane, WHOOP! Some things are just meant to be. The plane was in great shape and so pretty with our college colors (Missouri State and Texas A&M).
Adam’s flight training consisted of learning the basic ins and outs of the plane he was about to fly. Herman did a great job going over every detail and making sure we understood what each part of the planes purpose was. Again, he was very thorough which I think Adam appreciated, he was excited, but also nervous to fly the small piper plane. Checking and going over all the parts of the plane was very reassuring that we would all be safe flying.
Once we checked all the parts and received gas in the plane we were ready to fly! I had the backseat all to myself and surprisingly for the size of the plane there was plenty of space. Adam sat on the left while Herman sat on the right. We all had headphones and mics to communicate with each other and the air base.
Before we did anything Herman and Adam had to go through a checklist of making sure every control was working properly. Again, thorough. Once they checked everything off the list Herman radioed the air base for permission to start flying, checked the weather and then we were ready to fly! Listening in on the radio calls was a really cool experience. As frequent flyers it was nice to be on the other side of things, to hear the process and safety of flying a plane.
Herman drove the plane to the runway as we listened to him communicate to the air base of when it was our turn to take off. Once we were in the clear we were ready to lift off! Taking off is always our favorite part of flying and this took our flying experience to a whole other level. When we fly Adam and I usually have to fight for the window seat, but in this plane we both had unlimited views of the sky.
Almost during the whole process Herman was guiding Adam on what he was doing, how he was flying and our flight route. Once we reached 2,000 feet Herman passed the torch to Adam and Adam started to fly the plan (with Herman’s help of course). The two pilots worked on keeping us balanced and in the air while I was relaxed and enjoyed the views. As cool as it is to fly a plane, I think I enjoyed being in the backseat not worrying about everyone’s safety.
The views of Maryland in the fall from the air are beyond beautiful! So many colors – bright orange, golden yellow and powerful reds filled the space below. We could also see the cute cottages and neighborhoods with their beautiful trees surrounding them. We were told that if we lived nearby we could have flown by our house. So for the locals this would be something special. We also flew by a beautiful lake and a few ponds, they were absolutely gorgeous! If you are to ever fly in Maryland or the east coast in general I highly recommend doing it in the fall. Great weather and even better scenic landscapes.
Adam let Herman take over after about ten minutes of flying the plane because he too wanted to be stress free and enjoy the views. Flying the plane was really cool and exciting for him, but he agrees that the views were the best part of the experience. The flight never felt short at all, it was a perfect amount of time in the air. Up in the sky, we felt limitless. I can only imagine the beautiful views a pilot sees everyday on the job.
When it was time to head back Herman communicated to the airbase to get approval for our landing. It was not long before we slowly started our descend. The third best part about flying for us is the landing. Even with the high winds and our small piper plane, Herman managed a smooth landing. Our adrenaline finally started to ease up as we slowed down and made our way back to the airstrip to park the plane. I think we both exhaled a deep breathe when we unbuckled our seats.
I have to admit I thought of a pretty cool birthday gift and we both surely enjoyed it. Herman and the Washington Flight Academy made this experience easy, stress free, professional and of course, fun! Thank you for an adrenaline-rushed experience!
Washington Flight Academy
7940 Airpark Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
M – Su: 8am – 6pm