I Wanna Be A Bird When I Grow Up


Sunday 20 October, 2013 by Uncle Spike

downloadHate flying or love it? That’s about it really, isn’t it; there’s no in-between for most people. Well me, I fall into the ‘love it’ category in terms of flying that is.


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Whilst I have travelled considerably by a number of methods, from driving a car or riding motorbikes in many countries and on different continents, taken very long distance bus rides, numerous taxis, trains, trams, rickshaws, tut-tuts, donkey, horse, bicycle and many miles of hitch-hiking, but the one mode I would favour most if pushed for a choice would be flying 🙂

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I dont know how many flights I’ve been on, but we must be talking 130+ if not many more. Take off is the thing for me, that rush when Mr or Mrs Pilot pulls back on the throttle and the whole tin can stuffed full of the fearful or faithful starts to hurtle forward like some giant kids toy, but with two wings like enormous unlit Molotov cocktails strapped on to the bit we sit inside. It’s all a bit barmy if you ask me, but I still love the rush !!

These are a few scribbled memories of flying for your delectation that popped into Uncle Spikes head yesterday whilst daydreaming as I drove along a highway yesterday, with Aunty Spike (asleep) next to me, and Cousin Spike Jnr (asleep) in the back… 


Scariest flight?
Hmm, that would have to be Amsterdam to Cairo once when we only got as far as Vienna after some fun was had bouncing around in a thunderstorm (shudder at memory there).

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Longest flight?
Christchuch NZ to London Heathrow UK. Bored, oh so very bored was I.

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Least enjoyed flight?
Two hours in a 12 seater from an airstrip outside Mombasa across to the middle of the Masai Mara… but whilst suffering from a dodgy curry (or the East African version thereof). I couldn’t, and wouldn’t DARE move a muscle for obvious reasons – never sat so completely still in all my life 🙂

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Most fun flight?
A two hour acrobatic flight with a self-confessed nut who owned an old bi-plane. As long as you covered his fuel and oil costs, he loved flying so much he would take anyone willing. That was me, at the start… but boy oh boy, I thought I was some tough guy having done Space Mountain, but that had NOTHING on the fun an old master could muster up in an old Tiger Moth over some volcanoes on North Island NZ.

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Quietest flight? + Best party flight?
That joint honour goes to a flight from Honolulu to Auckland on a 747 I believe (it was big anyway), but there was just 50 passengers in our whole section. That was back in the days when a) Uncle Spike still smoked and b) when you still could smoke at the back of a plane (so that dates it, doesn’t it?!). Needless to say, a small party went on, with some brilliant hostesses even supplying lots of free booze as they enjoyed the break from busy flights to having hardly anyone to fuss over on a long haul flight. The hardest thing was deciding which bank of 6 seats to stretch out on when it came to sleep time 🙂

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So you are not a pilot then…?
Well, err no. Apart from commercial flights, I have been in a few private planes, but not many. I did have one of those one-hour flying lessons once, you know, one of those ‘experience packages’ you can buy these days. It was a surprise pressie from my late wife for my 30th in fact, so quite a while back I’ll admit, but what a crack that was – after 30 minutes I got so steer that twin seated, single engine hunk of metal right through a cloud; brilliant fun. All set was I to sign up there and then for all the hours necessary to get my pilots license…. until I saw the cost. Nah, not for me I thought, that’s a rich guys game, but well worth an afternoon out that to this day I remember with a smile.

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10 thoughts on “I Wanna Be A Bird When I Grow Up

  1. Scariest flight: definitely in the USSR back in the mid 80’s. Everything was frightening: the security, the pilots, the flight attendants and …the plane. At take off I thought we would crash. I also thought we would crash when we flew and of course when we landed. But I was very young and the world was so different. I’m glad to have this experience to remember.
    As always thanks for sharing unusual memories with us.


  2. Leo says:

    I have had the same problem with flying small aircraft, too expensive. although it`s not too bad for a microlight license. i`ve been in a few and it`s great fun and cheaper. 🙂


  3. Jean says:

    When I was a girl, I wanted to be a flight attendant. “Stewardess” we used to say. I loved flying. As I’ve grown, I’ve also grown less fond of it. Too much stress. Give me a good, reliable car with plenty of entertainment for the way, and I much prefer a road trip these days!


  4. babsje says:

    Great post. My scariest flight? Unable to land in Salt Lake City because of a snowstorm, the plane diverted to Denver. It had dumped too much fuel earlier due to weght. The pilot said “We are going to TRY to land in Denver.” The flight attendants were somber. We came in low and fast over the mountains. The cabin erupted in cheers when we landed. The pilot said we had less than 400 pounds of fuel left. I think that wasn’t enough for another few blocks in a 737. For someone who loves birds, I don’t enjoy flying in planes, not at all. You never want to hear a pilot say TRY. There is no try, do or do not as Yoda says.


  5. mikesteeden says:

    Tried it just the once – didn’t like it! I wouldn’t mind being the pilot I think but ‘passenger’ no way. I envy your ability to enjoy it!


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