It did take right up until the certificate was about to expire (after 12 months) before I managed to get my husband to agree to take a weekend off to do it (!) but I think in the end it was well worth the wait.
The plane that he went up in, and yes got to fly for a while, was indeed as small as it looks in the photo above. Yes. Really. He did stand taller than the height of the wing. Do not adjust your sets. This is not an illusion. The cockpit of the plane looked barely big enough to squeeze one person in, let alone two, so on my behalf it was probably a bit of a relief that the instructor was an older lady and not some super hot Scarlett Johansson look-a-like (a particular favourite of my husband!).
First he was given about 20 minutes instruction where the pilot talked about various parts of the plane and gabbed on about things like wind and no doubt things like lift and drag and whatever else the terms are that are used in flying. My husband is a bit of a whiz at maths and anything mechanical so he would have certainly been in his element and really understood it all. I, however, would have been lost at the first sentence and would probably be standing there repeating to myself that it is only rubber bands and magic that are holding this thing in the sky.
As you can probably imagine my stress levels were at about 11 right now.
With my heart in my mouth, my stomach in my shoes and me crossing every digit that I possess, hoping that I haven't just gifted him a 'Certificate to Go Up in A Blaze of Glory', he was up, up, up....
...and then away!
So wondering whether I'd see my husband in one piece again, I took the kids to the nearby play equipment and they joyfully cascaded up and down the curly wurly slide while I watched the skies and waited.
In the meantime I had this to amuse me. Right next door to the flying school is a sky diving joint. You know, where people pay good money to randomly thrown themselves out of a perfectly good plane. I watched a speck of a plane trundle by and then suddenly.....a whole pile of block dots appeared in a clump. Then as quickly as they had been clumped together they separated and seconds later there were colourful balloons of parachutes bursting out all over the sky.
It really was quite a sight. Even if I thought they were all lunatics.
Then, of course, I started wondering about whether my husband had access to a parachute, but then judging by the size of that plane it was highly unlikely, and if so, there would probably only be room for one at the most. Then I started to go through all these scenarios in my head, like the teeny tiny plane that he was putt-putting about in was screaming out of control hurling towards the ground and a good humoured and well mannered argument was going on between my husband and the pilot as to who should take the parachute. He'd be all like "ladies first" and being all gentlemanly and taking the idea of going up in a ball of flames like a man, and then she'd be all like a captain of a ship saying "oh heavens no, I have to go down with the plane"...etc...etc..... But, then I figured that he'd be more likely to get run over in some freak runaway tractor accident than go down in an airplane, so for goodness sake Amber stop worrying. So instead I turned my attention back to these lunatics...
Actually, what I found really odd about the whole thing is that when you see sky diving on the television it seems to take an age. You know, they're up there free falling for ages and then they open their chute and gently drift down. Ah...no. They plummet for about two seconds before popping their chutes, then it takes about twenty seconds maximum and they came THUNDERING down before hitting the earth with a shuddering knee shattering crash. Surely my back couldn't handle the jarring on landing. See how easily I've talked myself out of it?!
In the meantime, I do win the award for giving AWESOME presents!!