Is there a single thing this man cannot do? We flew to Sicily, or rather Dylan flew us to Sicily… in a four seater Cessna!! Now while your average rock star might travel by private jet or boast membership to the Mile High club, Dylan being a true outlier opts to fly himself around in his own plane. You can’t get much more cool than that!
Now while I quite enjoy flying, especially if it’s long haul and the promise of adventure lies at the other end, being in a small plane is an entirely difference experience to anything I could have ever imagined. As we turned into the runway and began to taxi down the tarmac rocking about in our seats with every pebble and bump, I felt I was in a toy. Did he really plan to get us to Sicily in this?? I pulled a face at him to which he responded with a reassuring smile. Then I heard his voice come through the headphones over the loud whir of the propellor. ” Let me get her up and then I’ll let you take over the controls for a while, okay?” With that he gave us full throttle, pulled back on the control stick and suddenly we were tipped backwards nose pointing horizontally into the sky. My back pressed hard into the seat with the thrust of the engine and as we soared upwards I felt a gush of adrenaline rush through me. Overcome with excitement I exploded with a giggle. This had to be one of the most exhilarating experiences I had ever had. After a little while and once I was comfortable that we were not going to nosedive like those paper airplanes we used to make as children, I dared to look below me through the tiny side window on my right and watched as people and houses grew smaller and smaller. The sensation of flying in a small plane is simply awesome!
I read somewhere that doing exciting or fearful things with someone can make you feel warm and fuzzy around them. If this is true then there was a certain and present danger of spontaneous combustion if I didn’t manage put some distance between me and this rockstar pilot with a sexy smile and a devilish glint in his eye. I needed an escape but seeing as we were already soaring into an endless blue cruising at 9,000ft above ground, jumping didn’t seem like much of an option.
Suddenly we took a sharp turn right and the wing dipped low. I gasped as we rolled onto our side and grabbed the sides of my seat, at the same time noticing a small tear in the fabric where someone else had dug their nails before. Dylan laughed out loud as he straightened us up again. “I thought you wanted to take a closer look.” he said impishly, “your turn now. Just take the yoke like this and no need to panic we have duel control so I can take over at any time okay? Keep the nose on the horizon like this, if you start to drop you just pull back a little and if you climb too high push forward. It’s easy.” I took a deep breath and wrapped my hands around the yoke that was floating freely in front of me and began to take control of the plane. At first it was a bit tricky because I didn’t realize how sensitive it was, any small adjustment I made seemed to lift or drop the nose but soon I got the hang of it. I was flying on my own! Dylan relaxed back into his chair and put his hands in the air. ” All your’s now honey, just check on your altimeter from time to time and don’t forget the horizon is your guide. Now take us to Sicily!”
With a bit of practice, it wasn’t long before I was dipping and soaring, turning and swooping. Once we saw land ahead of us Dylan took over again and reminded me that although flying is easy, “it’s the taking off and landing and watching the traffic that’s difficult.” he said. “I’ll take it from here but hey you did a great job for a first time.” He then told me a story about a very close friend of his who flew straight into high voltage electricity cables killing himself and his wife. Blinded by a strong sunset he had never seen the wires as he came in to land. “That’s why you have to live each day like it’s gonna be your last, one day you will surely get it right!” It was a cliche I had heard many times before but somehow it made a lot more sense in light of this story.
Immune from the world below us we shared our stories and fantasies, dreams and ambitions and for a while I wished we could just keep flying forever, or at least until we ran out of conversation or fuel, the latter I suspect being the more likely!
It was almost sunset by the time we came in to land. Dylan reported to traffic control at a small airfield and then somewhere nearby we landed with a bump onto a lumpy grass runway. Apparently Dylan’s old PR manager, who retired young and decided to live in the sun and go organic farming, is also a keen pilot and has his own landing strip which he kindly offered to make available to us. The plane jostled along until finally we came to a stop near the end of a freshly mowed strip of lawn. We were in the middle of a corn field and as I climbed out I could hear the crackle of evening as the sun set majestically on a golden horizon. We had arrived!