I flew my first hour today (technically, 0.8 hours since the instructor handled the takeoff and landing) on a beautiful fall day over Puget Sound and it was absolutely incredible. That featherweight feeling halfway down the runway when the wheels leave the ground and it’s just you and your little Cessna 172P aloft in the clear blue sky left me in a rare moment of speechlessness. It was thrilling yet tranquil at the same time, a surreal feeling of defying the gravity that is otherwise completely inescapable our entire lives but with such ease and effortlessness that it felt comfortable, natural. I walked away beaming broadly and thinking furiously about how to arrange my next hour in the air.

Below is a video of my flight over Seattle – don’t worry, the hour is cropped and compressed down to just four minutes. I hope it somehow captures the amazing feeling that I’m still struggling to explain.