THE FLIGHT OF THE EAGLE – Aerial Photography Journey.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

The cellphone vibrates one time, it´s a whatsapp message, I`m concentrated on the computer, scrolling down, looking at some pictures from Paris I had taken the week before, I´m looking, thinking, selecting, feeling and remembering the seconds which are embedded in each of those pictures. I continue working, the Iphone still remains there, in the table by the keyboard and again it vibrates 3 more times, the creak of the vibration against the old green wood of my desk disconnects me from my photo world, I turn my head and look at it, grab it in my hand to see the message, the screen shows I have a message from my friend and brother in Paris Gabo and it says: Alejo, how are you? I´m going to fly this weekend, do you want to come with me?

I immediately had contrasted feelings, I wanted to say yes! I´m going! but at the same time the fear appeared inside of me since I know it will be a learning flight for my friend. I think, I feel, I think and I feel again, some minutes passed by before answering the message, the battle of the heart and the reason goes on inside my body, finally as it has been for me in the last years, the heart wins and 5 minutes later I answer the message: ¨Hey Gabo, I´m good! sure, let`s do it!”

Two weeks went by and here I´m am on a saturday early morning, packing my equipment and getting ready, waiting for Gabo to arrive on his blue Peugeot 208 to pick me up. I finish everything and sit down in the couch, in the middle of the silence of my flat at 7:30 am in the morning.  I can hear my breath slowly going in and out of my nose, I start relaxing, feeling comfortable, the rhythm of my breath starts slowing his speed, I start getting sleepy and suddenly the cellphone vibrates again, I got a whatsapp message: “Alejo, I`m here just outside, let´s go!”

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

One hour after,  we are arriving to the Aéroclub Aigle de St-Maur, a sunny and bright day just perfect for  the adventure welcomes us in the aviation club. Ones I cross the door I enter to a world that feels back like in the past century. The first thing I see is the wooden desk of the counter with the logo of an eagle, all the chairs, colors, sofas and interior design in general has kept this flavor of the 80´s, I continue walking until the back of the room where there is a foosball and an old coffee machine, I see a brownish, padded old sofa that is inviting me strongly with its shape to sit down and relax, the smell of coffee reaches my noise and I start to relax again while I wait for Gabo who is in a small room preparing the flight with Jim his flight instructor.

Thirty minutes went by and we´re ready to board the small plane, a Robin DR-400 painted in blue and white stripes; while I´m going up I realize that the plain is mainly made by a really light and fragile material, Gabo tells me exactly where is the metallic part of the wing to put my foot and get inside the  cabin, I go to the back seat, Gabo goes in the front left side and Jim in the right front, the instructor gives me the headphones and ask me to put them on to see if they are working, ones I do it, a typical radio noise comes into my ears asking me if I hear him, I just say yes!

The engine is on, we start moving and my heart starts beating more strongly, I hear through the headphones a technical language between Gabo, Jim and the control tower, I don´t understand anything of their talk, from that moment ahead I´m completely alone in the trip, they are on their business and I have to prepare for mine.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

Ten minutes after, the tiny plane is ready to take off with the 3 of us inside, I see Gabo`s hand pulling thoroughly the accelerator and we start going really fast to take off, every single atom of that plane is shaking and I can feel all those vibrations going through my body, suddenly the nose of the plain goes up and we lift off, I can feel the wind crashing strongly to the plane, everything is moving strongly, Gabo makes a small turn right losing the balance of the plane, a strong sensation of vertigo overrun my body through all of my cells reaching the bottom of my soul, after 3 seconds Gabo corrects the maneuver, we are again on the right position and for the first time in my life I have the real sensation of flying, it´s  like riding a pegasus with just a couple of wings to keep us in the air.

Fifteen minutes later we are starting to prepare to land in another airport, I have started taking pictures long time ago, trying to get the frames I imagined, trying to be keen when I press the shooter in an environment where everything is shaking, even my breath.Gabo and Jim are concentrated on their business, we are landing and 10 seconds after we do it, we are taking off again without stoping the plane, all in the same run,  all in one move; again the plane vibrates strongly, the wind is hitting us like the ocean hits the rocks of a cliff, this time Gabo manages to make a smooth turn right and then after few seconds we are high in the sky again. We did the same operation 5 times, landing and taking off of the same airport track, until the end of the lesson when we went back to the first airport were we took off.

© L.A. Cuellar, All Rights Reserved.

One hour later I was again sitting in the brownish sofa by the foosball, I´m not anymore the same person, I have experienced how is to fly a small plane and literally feel the wind under your feet, I have changed as a person, I have one more story to tell, I have traveled in a different way for the first time and specially I have a strong dizziness to handle before coming back again to the normal life.

Thanks to Gabo again for inviting me to this aerial ride!!! Here is the photography of the adventure, the aerial and the ground pictures, I hope you enjoy them.


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