01.21.2015Personal Tech

Bucket List Check: GoPro Captures First How to Fly a Plane Experience

This is a guest post from John Almeida, St. Louis resident, tech enthusiast and non-stop adventure seeker. Image courtesy of St. Charles Flying Service and taken on a much nicer day than what he experienced!

2015 is here. Growing up watching the Back to the Future trilogy, the “future” was 2015, so it’s hard to believe that it’s actually here. For most people, a new year means new goals: lose weight, quit smoking, save money, etc. I’ve never been one to make a list of New Year’s resolutions; they can be so vague and uninspiring. Instead, I’m creating a bucket list to keep me accountable for being adventurous in 2015.

I’ve always had an adventurous spirit, but the thing I like most about taking adventures right now is how easy it is to capture and share your adventures with family and friends. Once you dream up a bucket list item, all you have to do is plan it, do it and then share it with the world.

The incredibly versatile and powerful GoPro camera has played a big role in the capturing and sharing of adventures. When I recently got the Verizon GoPro Hero 4, I couldn't wait to put it to the test. The Hero 4 is the first-ever GoPro to feature a built-in touch display for framing shots. It can also capture stunning video in resolutions up to 1080p60, along with 12mp photos at a staggering 30 frames per second.

My first bucket list item of 2015 was to learn how to fly a plane. Ever since I was a little boy watching Airwolf on Thursday nights, I’ve wanted to learn how to fly. Come to find out, learning how to fly an airplane is not as difficult as you might think. With a basic understanding of physics and a passion for travel, taking control of the yoke can be within reach of almost anyone – including me!

The day I had my flight lesson scheduled ended up being a snowy day in St. Louis. The roads were horrible so I called the flight academy ahead of time to make sure that my flight lesson had not been cancelled due to weather. It was not. I had to muster up my courage at this point. I was a little nervous before, but the snowy January weather made me question if maybe this wasn’t the right time. Once I arrived, though, the confident pilot reassured me and we headed outside to the runway.

I was surprised how I felt like a giant standing next to the Cessna 152 airplane. It felt even crazier after I got into the small cabin next to my instructor. Rolling down the runway, increasing speed, the jet slowly glided its way up to the cold, cloudy sky. There was a light dusting of snow as we got higher and higher. Looking down at the vast expanse below us made me realize how small the plane was and really put in perspective the power it had over me.

We hit a little turbulence on the way up, but it wasn’t jolty like I expected. Instead, it was smooth and almost like a boat hitting a wave. As the pilot explained the controls, I slowly found my comfort zone. I was flying an airplane!

I’m not sure if I’ll go as far as obtaining my Private Pilot’s License, but I learned one thing: that little boy inside of me that used to watch Airwolf was happy to see the snowy view from 12,000 feet in the air. Check out my GoPro video below.

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