The thought of getting high with a pilot in Malaysia never even crossed my mind, but the thought of being airborne is an attractive option for anyone under the day-to-day restraints of gravity. Even if leaving the chaos of earth but for a short time is appealing and I can see how expensive hobbies like paragliding or paramotoring can become addictive. Not to mention those dead set on getting their pilots’ license. Not pastimes for the budget minded that’s for sure.
But I recently had the opportunity to be a One Day Pilot as a participant of Tourism Selangor’s pilot program (no pun intended) #TSBreakAway. I’m not necessarily a thrill seeker by nature but these days the opportunity to have any new experience sits at the top of my personal ‘yes please’ wish list.
This wasn’t however the first time I had flown (co-piloted) a plane. My stepfather had a pilot’s license and that was one of the ‘fun’ things we did when I was growing up. For some reason I don’t quite remember it as fun. I’m sure it was at the time, but my memories are laced with fear and apprehension because my pilot during that particular time in history enjoyed turning the engine off while we were flying. The quiet sounds of whistling air space and my ears popping were fuel for my over active often gloomy imagination, but I lived to tell the tales or at least remember my versions of them.
Funny thing about memories and experiences is that they tend to change people’s perspectives on things. Some for the better and some for the worse. But I’m a player these days and I try my best to have a ‘go for it’ attitude. So there I was at the Subang airport about to fly the friendly skies of Malaysia. Hopefully “like a boss”.
In addition to a regular flying school and licensing program, Air Adventure Flying Club also offers a monthly membership to the general public. It’s available for one month per calendar year, per person for a flat rate of 100 ringgit. As a card carrying member you’re eligible for a selection of discounts on club activities as well as various food and beverage outlets in addition to participating in one aviation ground class.
Being introduced to our official pilots for this ‘flying experience’, I felt slightly geriatric and had to bite my tongue not to ask, “Are you old enough to fly a plane?” Woops, I think maybe I didn’t quite bite my tongue..My bad. I may even have grilled them like a future in-law as they prepped us for our flights.
With my hands on the wheel we carefully went weightlessly into the postcard worthy blue sky. But it was shortly thereafter, when the pilot told me to head towards the distant Petronas Twin Towers, that my mouth got dry and my palms sweaty. Yes, I know it’s a beautiful landmark that’s the pride of Malaysia’s capital city and that millions of tourists take photos of the iconic buildings annually…
I also took photos of ‘the twins’ on my first trip to Kuala Lumpur, back in 2006. My photo image happens to be seared in my brain, because my first trip to Malaysia was post 9-11 and images from that particular day in U.S. history are also seared in my brain. Live television coverage as well as the horrific photos that later made their appearances in Time Magazine. The haunting similarities didn’t escape my camera or me that night.
So steady as she goes matey as my rather nervous pilot-for-a-day self said nothing and turned the plane towards the Petronas Twin Towers. It’s a bit of a dizzying feeling flying over a busy metropolitan area because there are no grassy knolls to land on, in case of emergency.
In fact I tried to pro-actively scout out an area in case emergency heroics were required. Safety first lah. Where would someone land a plane near Kuala Lumpur? The only place I saw was the new palace lawn, which of course would certainly be politically incorrect even if I were saving the capitol city. I didn’t want to think about it, but couldn’t keep those doom’s day thoughts from my brain (between oohing and ahhing as expected).
But then my depth perception isn’t the best and we were probably much farther away that I thought, but I still wondered if anyone was watching the tiny plane from a lone office window. Maybe taking a glance at the friendly skies of Malaysia and having their own flash backs?
Regardless of my slightly drama-laced recap of my recent flying experience, the Air Adventure Flying Club is actually a unique opportunity for wanna-be pilots to get some air time without breaking the bank. You’ll also have an experience you won’t forget (and some serious bragging rights). So next time you’re in Selangor, consider popping into Subang and getting high with a pilot.
Air Adventure Flying Club
Light Aircraft Hangar Site,
Subang Airport, Subang, Selangor
*May now be changed to http://subanghighflyers.com/
*This is my first post for Tourism Selangor’s #TSBreakAway