What I learnt from being a pilot’s wife (1)

DSCN3852_edited-1My husband is a VFR pilot. And a few weeks ago he flew me across three countries, in a single engine plane, so that I could get an eyeful of England’s famous White Cliffs of Dover.

Over six hours we motored slowly across Switzerland and into France before we made that epic journey across the English Channel into England. A few days later we flew back home – safe and sound – much to the relief of both sets of families.

While our respective mothers worried about our safety, I tried to find ways to keep myself occupied without any inflight entertainment. So I decided to compile a list of all the things I’ve learnt from being a pilot’s wife, which I’d now like to share with you over the next few posts.

Here we go with lesson number one…


…I can be the perfect wife

There’s nothing like being a passenger in a single engine plane, piloted by your husband, to remind you of one special word in your wedding vows: obey.

And obey him you must.

Because thousands of metres in the air is no place to pick an argument with the man you married.

So as a passenger first, and then a wife, I did what I have a lot of trouble doing on terra firma: I kept my mouth shut when I got told off for accidently hitting something I shouldn’t have just after take-off.

And for the six hours after that, I surrendered total control to this man. I listened attentively to his every word and tried to help him in anyway I could. If there was ever a time when we needed to work with each other rather than against each other – this was it.

And then on the way back home, I had the pleasure of upchucking my lunch into a paper bag because of all the turbulence around us. I found myself wondering, for the first time that weekend, why I had voluntarily put myself through this exercise. After all, flying an uber light aircraft is primarily my husband’s idea of fun – not mine.

As I finally lifted my head out of the paper bag, I glanced across to see a very concerned pilot trying to make sure his wife was okay, while simultaneously communicating with an air traffic controller as he started his final descent onto the runway. So I gave him what I thought he needed to see – a thumbs-up. Because swearing down the microphone at the pilot was just such a pointless use of time.

So, what makes me the perfect wife at a few thousand metres above the ground?

It must be the air up there.

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