November 27, 2012

Co-piloting Boston to Albany

My trip back from Denver was long - to say the least!  For starters I had a red eye flight that began at 11:30 PM followed by a four hour layover in Boston.  After hanging out in downtown Denver for a couple of hours I headed to the airport in preparation for the all night flight.  The flight was packed and I was unlucky enough to have a middle seat.  Luckily in anticipation of my misery I bought a cushy neck pillow that at least allowed me to sleep on and off for a couple hours.  The flight from Denver to Boston was not that bad; we had free direct TV and the flight was smooth the only down side was that we were flying from 11:30 PM - 5 AM (remember the two hour time change).  We landed in Boston at 5 AM, which of course would have been 3 AM Denver time; I think I ended up sleeping on and off from Iowa to right over Albany, NY (if I could have parachuted down at that point, trust me I would have).  I made my way over to my connecting flight's gate and started my layover, which ended up being nearly 4.5 hour layover.
When I booked this flight I knew the second leg of my journey would be on a small plane, but I had no idea how small!  I have flown on small propeller planes before but never a Cessna.  I was flying Cape Air which is a small airline company based in the Northeast that mainly flys to Cape Code, Hyannis Port and some stops in New York.  After what seemed like forever we finally lined up to board.  I was the first one in line and as we walked to the plane I began to realized just how small the plane actually was - we are talking (maybe) a 10 seater Cessna, my carry ons were placed in the wing and we were arranged by weight.  I was the first one in the plane (aside from the pilot) and as I crawled in and was trying to decide what seat to take the pilot said, 'Hi!  Would you like to be my co-pilot?'; I am pretty sure I responded with, 'Suuuuure, I just don't want to touch anything.'  Classy I know, but I was deliriously tired!  
So I was in the front seat!  The pilot was literally a foot to my left, I had a steering wheel and all the gears in the world right in front of me and I was pretty sure that if I stuck my arm out the window it would have been chopped off my a propeller (I was clearly not going to do that but it just goes to show how small the plane was and how close I was to everything).  Taxiing next to a Jet Blue flight (which happened) our plane look minuscule!  Take off was intense - it was an awesome albeit scary feeling!  Throughout the flight we had great views of Boston and the mountains between New York and Massachusetts.  We didn't have a very high altitude so the entire trip I was able to look out the window and see everything below.  The best part of the trip though was landing in Albany - it was awesome to see the city come into focus, fly low over the towns and then land at the airport.  Here are some pictures of the landing.

That would be my leg - steer wheel literally in my lap!
Looking to my left - there's the pilot!

All the gears - right in front of me!

Flying over the mountains!
Flyig over Boston!

Flying over Boston - part II!

The sequence of landing in Albany!

Annnnnd we'r on the ground!
 All in all it was an awesome experience and probably one that I would say I won't be able to have again for quite some time, if ever!   

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