On a breezy, clear and sunny Sunday morning last week, I arrived at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport with eight fellow cadets from the University’s Air Force ROTC. The air, thick with excitement, foretold our anticipation ” we were about to do something many people only dream of: fly an airplane. We met the pilots from the Civil Air Patrol, the program that was allowing us to fly, and then divided up into groups. Though flight instruction normally costs about $100 per hour, the flying time is free for any student taking the University’s Air Force class and laboratory. We were given brief instructions, shown the planned route, and subsequently were in the air. We were flying. The flight took us all the way from Ann Arbor to a small airport near Saginaw where I switched positions from the back seat to the front seat and took the controls. Afterwards, we then took off again and flew all the way to a small town near Mount Pleasant named Clare where the entire group ate lunch at a quaint restaurant. Not soon enough, we were back in the air and having the time of our lives. For many of us, the thrill of piloting an airplane for the first time was almost euphoric, and so the trip was amazing. Aside from the flying, we were also able to hear the many stories from the volunteer Civil Air Patrol pilots, who came from very diverse backgrounds, but all have one thing in common: a love of flying. At the end of the day, the nine of us, exhausted and drained of the adrenaline that had fueled our flying endeavor, climbed out of the airplanes and back into our cars. The experience was over, but our love for flying had only grown.

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