Do you love taking flight photos? I do! I simply adore the beauty of the bird’s eye view of a new place. I am delighted by the changes in landscape from above. Yes, I am one of those who can’t resist taking out their cameras during landing and take-off.
Imagine my excitement when Jon told me we’d get the chance to fly over Dunedin (Jon’s hometown) on a private plane. I had never been on a small aircraft (I was a bit worried that I would get motion sickness) but it was an experience I simply couldn’t pass up. The flight would be on a two-seater plane, so Jon and I had to do the flights separately. This would be really interesting.
For the past few days in Dunedin, Pauline (Jon’s mom) showed us around different attractions by car. New Zealand is definitely the country to visit if you like road trips – the variation in scenery is just incredible! I couldn’t wait to see a piece of this country from above.
The Aircraft, the Airfield and the Pilot
We met up with Graham (Pauline’s partner), the pilot for this flight, at Taieri airfield. The airfield was small compared to international airports I was accustomed and the runway was not concrete but grass. Finally, we saw the aircraft, a small two-seater plane with really wide and clear windows. I was really curious how this flight will turn out.
Inside the Aircraft
I was up first. I sat beside Graham on the two-seater plane. I secured my headphones in place and checked the reception. It was almost as if I was the co-pilot. There was one reminder though, don’t touch the controls. There was one joystick thing that was really tempting to touch but let’s leave that to the pilot. It was not as cramped as I thought, the wide windows definitely helped, I think I’d feel claustrophobic in a small aircraft with small windows. I was told to relax and just adjust the air vents as needed. I was glad Jon lent me his jacket, it looks like it would be a cold flight.
Some people love take-offs more than landings. They say it’s a freeing feeling when you leave the ground. In a small plane, you feel everything alright. It’s not scary though. Slowly the plane left the ground, and the sight of Jon and Pauline became smaller and smaller until I could no longer see them.
Scenery: Dunedin, New Zealand
Apparently small planes have to fly below the clouds. That’s relief, we don’t want any turbulence in a small plane! The lower altitude makes for a better view of the landscape below. The scenery varied from residential areas to farm lands, from hills to beaches. From Mosgiel, where we started, we flew over the rest of Dunedin, across the harbour and down the Otago peninsula. On the way back, we flew next to the coast, the scenery was just dramatic. It was gorgeous! From the air, everything – even the waves seem to stand still. It was truly an unforgettable experience.
Flight Video: Dunedin
Here’s a portion of the flight on time lapse video (make sure to watch with quality at 720pHD or higher):
The flight took about half an hour, and it was nearly sunset when we got back. Landing wasn’t as rough as expected. It was a great flight. Jon had his turn afterwards.
I am very grateful to Pauline and Graham for this experience, and of course for their hospitality during our stay in New Zealand. Credits to Pauline Algie for some of the plane photos – check out her blog about New Zealand’s off the beaten path destinations.
What was your most unforgettable flight? Have you been on a small aircraft? Let us know.