Helicopter Ride

You ever have one of those days that turns out to be one of the best days of your life, and you never saw it coming?  I had one of those on Saturday.

All summer long Harland has been working on a photo assignment for the Kansas Sampler Foundation for a book about the 8 Wonders Of Kansas. He’s been all over the state shooting a wide variety of subjects and people. Some of them he’s shot from the air for a better view. Saturday morning he photographed a town square in Blue Rapids, and he hired a helicopter this time for the job. So early that morning, we met the helicopter in a field near the high school.

The pilot is a dentist and flies in his spare time.

He took the door off the helicopter on Harland’s side so he could take pics without worrying about glare. I kissed Harland goodbye forever, asked if we had a will, and then he took off.

He was gone for about 10 minutes taking pics of the town square, and when he returned he got out of the helicopter and motioned for me to come over.

I thought he needed help with his camera equipment, but as I approached, he pointed at the seat and said I could go for a ride too and pushed me towards the seat. There was no time to think, and I just got in, put on the headphones, buckled my seatbelt, and we took off.

I took pics of Harland taking pics of me as we flew away.

As we climbed higher and higher, and I realized there was nothing between me and the ground far below but my seatbelt,

I began to panic and profanity began to pop out of my mouth. Oh sh**, OH SH**!  I leaned away from my open doorway and was squishing the pilot against his window. He asked if we needed to go back, but I said no. This was a great opportunity, and I wanted to get some pics from air. So I started clicking away, calmed down, and began to enjoy myself. He asked if I wanted to go over the town square like Harland had, and I said I’d rather go out over the countryside, so we flew around over the hills, farmland, and down along the Blue River. It was all so beautiful in the early morning light. We were up for only about 10 minutes, but it felt like a lot longer, and I took about 120 pics. We finally headed back to the landing spot,

and I got out of the helicopter and gave Harland a big hug. It was so much fun, so beautiful to be up in the air and see what the birds see every day. And I was so pleased with myself for not chickening out despite my fear of heights. And so when Harland took my picture next to the pilot afterwards, I looked really goofy, but I was literally just high on life.

I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day.


——–>Up Next Tomorrow: Pictures taken on my helicopter ride!


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Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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30 Responses

  1. Lee Ann L. says:

    I’m impressed! I don’t know if I could have done what you did. I mean, I can’t even think about flying (on a plane) without getting a panic attack. I wish I could be brave enough to fly because I would so love to go visit family in Oregon! But, I’m too chicken. My Dan wants to go in a helicopter someday — he thinks it’d be a cool experience. I’m not so sure.

  2. Isn’t it magnificent?? Took my first and only helo ride in Hawaii and boarded with my heart in my throat. But in very short order, I knew I didn’t want to ever come back to ground. I wanted to just keep going and looking and seeing all that beauty. This from a girl who gets very ill in small planes!!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Sue,
      Me too! First I was scared, and then I didn’t want to come back down. It must have been a thrill for you in Hawaii. I’m so jealous.

  3. OMGosh!!!! That is amazing. I can’t wait to see your photos (or Harlands for that matter). I am so getting one of the 8 wonders books! Good job taking in the moment and not worrying about no door! Yikes. 🙂

  4. Elaine Snively says:

    Can’t wait to see the pictures.

  5. Carola says:

    Now you’ll be ready to take the helicopter ride down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon! It’s amazing! And I’d love to see your photos from that trip too! Happy November.

  6. Debbie says:

    I am so impressed with your “just go with it” attitude.
    I would have overthought it, and chickened out!
    I look forward to seeing your sky high photos!
    What a great opportunity!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Debbie,
      I just knew if I chickened out I’d regret it forever. But it turned out to be such fun, no door and all.
      I posted the photos today, enjoy.

  7. Vivian says:

    What, you didn’t kiss the ground when you landed?? lol
    What fun – I can’t wait to see your bird’s perspective pictures tomorrow!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Vivian,
      I didn’t think of kissing the ground I was having such fun flying around. 🙂 Pictures of my flight posted today. Enjoy!

  8. Sally Bishop says:

    Your smile at the end says it all, it radiates happiness.

  9. Teresa says:

    How exciting! The joy is just radiating from you. I am insanely jealous, and I can hardly wait to see your pictures!

  10. Doe of Mi. says:

    Oh, how won-der-ful! I’m not good w/height either -so I say congrats to you. Wish I had a chance to try.
    Waiting to view the photos.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Doe,
      Thank you! I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity. Wish I could have taken everyone along with me.

  11. GinMT says:

    Way to go, Suzanne! I’m soooo jealous, but proud of you for going for it! Looking forward to your photos!


  12. Glenda says:

    Wow! Oh wow! I’m so proud of you! But I know you are happy that you were able to overcome and take those photos. My heart was in my throat for you as you described it. I know I’ll love the photos as well.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Glenda,
      Thank you! I just hope I didn’t leave bruises on the pilot when I was squishing him at the beginning of the flight. 🙂

  13. What an exhilerating experience! I would have been by smiling all day too! Glad you did it without having the chance to think about it! that’s so cool! I once got to go up in a helicopter at a fair. they were giving rides for $15. I wanted to do it so bad, but by the time I got up the nerve it was dark, but I went anyhow. I could still see the landscape, but not nearly as well had it been in day light. I could however see all the pretty lights from the carnival rides. anyhow, that was about 20 years ago…I would love to do that again, and if I get the opportunity…I’m taking it!

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      Oh go for it. It’s one of those life experiences you just have to have under your belt. So fun! I hope you get to do it again soon.

  14. Pat Osborne says:

    I was down on the square waiting for you! I’m the one in the gorgeous Red Hat. I envy you the opportunity to see our beautiful corner of the world from the helicopter and capture it with your camera. We so much appreciate our Round Town Square being photographed for inclusion in Marci’s book (and the bravery exhibited by all photographers and pilot) What a great website. Come see us again in the only Blue Rapids in America.

    • Suzanne says:

      Hi Pat,
      Harland’s pics of the square came out beautifully. You have a very pretty town there, and the light that morning was perfect. I can’t wait to see the book either. I don’t think there’s a corner of the state Harland hasn’t visited this summer and fall working on it.
      Thank you for stopping by!

  15. Dianna says:

    Sorry for the delay in leaving this comment. (I just recently discovered your blog!)
    I know exactly how you felt about this helo ride! In November, my hubby & I were in Myrtle Beach, SC, and took a spur-of-the-moment helo ride. I was really scared, but I wanted to take pictures for my blog! What we won’t do for our blogs, right?
    If you’d like to see pics of Myrtle Beach from the air, here’s the link:

  1. November 4, 2010

    […] Helicopter Ride […]

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