The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

Please Fasten Your Seatbelts

By 07:00:00 , , ,

“Flying is … great. It feels great when you’re doing it. It’s fun. Pure freedom. There’s nothing better.” - James Patterson

You've probably read this quote or similar ones countless times on tumblr or Pinterest. It all sounds rather lovely, until you actually take the time to think about this whole flying business. How do airplanes work? You're basically stuck in a pressurized metal cylinder with a hundred or so strangers, and you shoot through the clouds to get from A to B. Not so romantic now, is it? 

For me, that changed when I discovered Microlights. On board one of these beauties, flying looks like this:

Much better, right? I discovered these fun aircrafts through Buzz Flying, a company in Malta offering everything microlight-related; from trial flights to full courses to get a pilot license. Buzz Flying is part of the Island Microlight Club, and is run by a group of professional pilots who clearly love what they do for a living. Thankfully, they managed to squeeze me in their busy schedule to meet me, have a chit chat, and of course, fly! 

With the bright Apollo Delta Jet 2 out of the hangar, we zipped up into our flying suits as Mark and his crew, the friendly pilots of Buzz Flying, explained to me all the safety procedures. The aircraft is the first of its kind in Malta that's used for flight training, and was flown in the country all the way from Hungary. Despite their size, they can travel long distances and are becoming ever more popular in the sport world. Besides air experience flights, pilots-to-be are also trained on the Apollo and their slightly larger aircraft, the Ikarus C42B. 

Tightly strapped in and waiting for the go ahead from the Control Tower, the nerves started to set in as I tried to get used to openness of the aircraft. Gripping my pilot's seat tightly and wondering why I always put myself in these situations, we revved up the engine...

and suddenly, with little to no warning, we were rising up to the sky! 

I have to say, being 1,500 feet away from solid ground does take some getting used to, but pretty soon I was grinning like a kid and opening my arms wide, feeling the gusts of wind fly past. It's an incredible feeling of freedom and adrenaline fused together, and flying over an island as pretty as Malta does have its benefits too:

The route during a trial flight is a beautifully panoramic one. We flew over Dingli cliffs, Fomm ir-Rih, Gnejna and Ghajn Tuffieha, before crossing over to St Paul's Bay and southwards towards the Great Harbour. You can even choose to fly over Gozo and Comino's Blue Lagoon on longer flights - check out the different packages on offer here. You can even buy a flight as a gift and give it to them as a voucher. Oh, did I tell you my birthday is in May? *cough cough*

The aerial views of the Grand Harbour, Valletta and the Three Cities simply blew me away. We spend years learning about the classic architectural plans of these iconic sites - getting to see them from up above is a once in a lifetime experience!

All too soon, it was time to start our descent back at the airport. Having landed and stowed away the Apollo Delta in the hangar, being back on solid ground did not feel quite the same. I guess I should have paid attention to their one disclaimer - they are not responsible for an addiction to flying!

I'd highly recommend a flight with Buzz Flying to anyone with a sense of adventure. It's incredibly affordable, fun and most of all, safe!  While it may not be your first choice for a transatlantic flight, it will definitely leave you wishing you could spend more time in the open sky...

Practical Tips: 

- The boys fly Monday to Sunday throughout the day, but the activity is entirely weather dependent, so be ready to be flexible in dates and times.

- Keep in mind that microlights can only carry two persons at a time; therefore it will be just you and your pilot on board.

- Taking cameras with you is completely fine, but make sure you have a strap to attach them safely.

- Most of all, have fun and enjoy the ride!

The Anti-Tourist was invited to try out this activity by Buzz Flying Limited. Opinions, however, remain my own. 

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