My dad had his drivers liscence only one month longer than he had his pilot's liscence, to start. He went to college in Florida to get his commercial pilot's liscence but never finished. Sometime before I was born, he bought a Cessna 180. Ours was white with brown and orange in a more creative pattern. It seats 4 people total.
So, I have been flying since I was in my mom's womb. Pop used the plane to go moose hunting and salmon fishing, and just to go places. Growing up, we went out flying nearly every weekend -- we'd always get excited when Pop was going to take the garbage out to the Dump because the truck we had had a big ole gas tank with pump in the back that we used to fuel the plane with. If we went out to the Dump, there was always a good chance that afterward, we'd go out to where the plane was and go flying.
What its' like to fly in a small plane
First off, it's not like in TV or the movies. Planes are LOUD and you have to yell at the top of your lungs to be heard if you're not using a headset. The engine is so loud because minimum speed in a Cessna 180 to keep in the air is somewhere around 80 MPH. And you're usually cruising around at 180 MPH. Another thing is the seatbelts. The two seats in the back of my dad's plane had the belts like you'd find on an airliner. The two front seats have over the shoulder harnesses that latch into the part that goes across your lap. If something were to happen and you were flung forward and you didnt' have the harness, your weight would push the yoke (steering wheel) forward and you'd be putting the plane's nose down. Especially not good if you're being flipped over (a friend of my dad's flipped his plane and it WOULDN'T of happened had he had the harness setup).
Taking off is the BEST part - there isn't as much G-force as on an airliner, but since you're smaller and closer to the ground, you feel like you're going faster, and the climb seems sharper... It's the difference between running as fast as you can, and then dreaming you're running faster than humanly possible and feeling fantastic about it. Nothing beats the rush you feel when taking off. :D I physically am unable to keep from smiling when I take off in a small plane.
And the ride is SO much bumpier. Airlines make me feel weird because they generally don't bounce around ENOUGH. Taking off and landing is, too -- I've only landed on pavement in a small plane once in my life. Everything else has been rocks, gravel, sand, silt, and dirt. Anyway, but your stomach does the drop thingey a LOT. You get used to it, but I'm not immune to it like my dad is. I don't get motion sickness, though, probably because I grew up with the plane.
I miss it a lot. It's just so different from anything else, but even growing up with it, you knew it was special. Everything about flying is so different from anything else... After we'd land, if Pop didn't get the plane in the right place we'd get out and you push on the wing struts to get it back into place over the tie-downs. And you tie down each wing and the tail, and there's a way to do it, too. Now, we've got the boat. You get close to the dock, and whoever isn't piloting is hanging on the rail so when you get close, you grab a line and jump off the boat and onto the dock, and use your line (not a ROPE, a LINE) to hold the boat in place -- one person on the front end, another on the back end. And you tie it down in a certain way.
Doing things with the boat, I feel like we're faking it. We're trying to be something we're not. It's just not the same.