You push the stick forward to descend and pull back to go up.
The joy of flying, not in a commercial jet but aboard a light aircraft, was demonstrated to 18 Clutha children recently at the annual Blue Light Take a Kid Flying programme.
Flight recipient Marnina Kinnard (11) described it as ‘‘awesome’’ and said she would like to do it again some time. Moses Taylor (9) also used ‘‘awesome’’ to describe his flight.
The South Otago district school pupils, ranging in ages from 8 to 16, were introduced to the thrill of flying at the South Otago Aero Club in Balclutha.
The Take a Kid Flying programme was organised nationally by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), in conjunction with the Blue Light charity, which works in partnership with the NZ Police to deliver an extensive range of youth programmes and activities around the country.
Balclutha pilot Peter Glaister said the programme had been running for almost 10 years.
“On Sunday, 10 planes from AOPA members in the region took the 18 students on a tour of their countryside,” he said.
In previous years these flights, which are weather dependent, have taken in coastal Catlins, Dunedin, Mosgiel and Gore.
This year the pilots flew the children to the Mosgiel aerodrome to visit the rescue helicopter complex there.
Along the way some flew over the rally car service area at Lake Waihola to see drivers participating in the Otago Rally.
“It’s a great day out for them and all thoroughly enjoyed the experience, which is a good thing, because the AOPA goals are to broaden the horizons of all young people whilst giving back to the community,” Mr Glaister said.
Balclutha police Youth Aid Senior Constable Tanya Grant said the event was a great experience.
‘‘It was a wonderful opportunity for the students to experience the joy of flight and to also undertake the odd scientific experiment along the way, as we observed zero gravity when, during a manoeuvre, my cellphone floated within the cockpit.
‘‘We really appreciate the relationship Blue Light have with the AOPA and look forward to teaming up again next year.’’