The Flight

Last weekend we (Jane and Bob, Principal and Business Partner) did the flights for the parents and families that won the raffle at school. We had the raffle to get them to attend a session on how to help the school with their child’s education. The incentive got 70% of the parents to attend which is about twice what we would normally expect. They all signed declarations about what they would do and then we did the draw and three families were to go up in the air for the first time.

My friend Pieter and his friend Dylan took a dozen of us up in five flights and we buzzed Atteridgeville from Lanseria. Beautiful clear day, they all saw the school, their houses, the stadium, etc. Jane and Bob had flown before but no-one else (apart from the pilots). It is quite wonderful when you see something you are familiar with but look at it through someone else’s eyes. Fabulous. More in just a second.

I also had a new experience. We were all in a taxi going off to Lingerie from Atteridgeville. We had a very nice taxi driver called Obed. We were driving through Laudium when suddenly we were cut up by a bashed up car and four very burly gentlemen jumped out, took our driver and one of them drove us off to a piece of wasteland. Anyway, I did not die. It was the Laudium taxi association wanting to make sure an Atteridgeville taxi was not doing the Laudium route. They were somewhat confused by the taxi having a white bloke in. After a half hour delay to our journey we were “released”.

But the flights were beautiful. The flights were in a little Cessna aircraft with one propeller. Only four people can travel but only three if they are adults. Yes, it was small and cosy. There are windows all around so you could see everything except what was about a thousand feet below you. We all got headphones and our pilots spoke a very complicated language to the air traffic controllers. We had to have permission to take off, to land, to fly around and to change direction. And we had to watch out for other aircraft.

We took a tour before we got over Atteridgeville. Atteridgeville looked beautiful from the air. The stadium was big and proud. The church opposite the school was a real landmark. The school looked tiny. I was very pleased to see my car was still parked there.

But the best thing of all was the faces of the people after they landed and what they said. Their faces were full of energy and excitement. Many had been a little scared with the plane as it bounced around in the air and most had found the landing was a real experience. And they could not get over how fast the plane went but appeared to be travelling so slowly when they looked out the window.

There were some great quotes:

•    “I got close to Christ. I made peace with him.” This was the Deputy Principal.
•    ”Everything is so small from up there. The cars were tiny.”
•    “I saw my house and I think I saw my husband.”
•    “I have got all the brochures and I am going to become a pilot.”
•    “I think I will become a stewardess and work on those planes.”
•    “It was the first real experience I have had with my child.”
•    “In the past I would have struggled to write about a day I would not forget. But now I have that day. I know exactly what I will write.”
•    “So many knobs and dials and pedals and levers.”

It was a lovely right royal day out. We left Atteridgeville at 7 in the morning and we got back at 5 in the afternoon. The taxi on the way back was full of voices. I am sure there were ten voices all talking at the same time. It was a grand day.

30 November -1, 00:00