High-Flying Job Swap Adventure

Mac Smith
Mac Smith

By Walter Makaula

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- I've always wanted to fly a plane, but thought it was too complicated, and it would take too long to learn.

But that was before I met Mac Smith from Flight School Hawaii.

He made it clear, I would be flying the plane!

He told me, "The only place where I'm probably going to assist you, is in the landing phase."

After a little classroom instruction, we headed out to the aircraft. Preparation is key, and there's a long list of things that needed to be checked before take off.

The tires, the wings, the rudders, windows, the propeller, the tail, you name it, we checked it. And don't forget one of the most important, the fuel.

With that we were ready. So, we hopped in, checked a few gages, and started the engine. At last, we were on our way.

It was a little intimidating to be taxi across Honolulu International Airport, and very different from driving down the street in my own car.

Steering the plane while on the ground is done with your feet. I was supposed to stay on the yellow solid line, but I didn't do so well. Eventually, we were ready for take off. So I took a deep breath, and started to accelerate down the runway.

I was calm, relaxed, and focused. But apparently that wasn't the case for our photographer, who decided, he just couldn't watch the take off while sitting in the back seat helpless. Take off is smooth, and steering the plane in the air was much easier than on the ground.

My debut flight as a pilot took us across Oahu. We checked out the freeway, Aloha Stadium, Aiea, Mililani, Schofield, Wahiawa, and the North Shore of Oahu before heading back.

Eventually, my dream of being a pilot came to an end, and before I knew it, we were approaching the airport for landing. But up until that point, Mac hasn't put his hands on the controls, and as we got closer to the ground, I got a little more nervous.

He told me to bring it in slow and steady and before I knew it, we were safely back on earth.

And on this Thanksgiving holiday, that is something to be thankful for.