I have a 180 degree view of a landscape of endless clouds. The sun shines on the clouds from a low angle, making them appear almost solid, like thick white cotton candy. We angle down towards a dip in the clouds and we are surrounded on all sides. My brain is trying to tell me we are about to run head-on into a solid mass as the Hawker Siddeley 748 speeds towards the far side of the dip. The flight deck starts to bounce and shudder and the engine noise is loud despite my headset, but I don't mind at all. The view is stunning and the excitement is exhilarating, like the best roller coaster ride I have ever been on.
--- three days later ---
I am again in the flight deck of an aircraft, this time on a Boeing 737-500. It's 8pm and we are taking off from Vancouver. The low sun creates sunsets after sunset as we climb over mountains, and city, ocean and layers on layers of clouds. This time it is calm, quiet and serene. The pure beauty overwhelms me and I feel my eyes well up with tear which I furtively wipe away.
Both of these flight deck experiences left me grinning ear to ear. Passengers must have thought I was the happiest flight attendant on the planet. I believe I have officially added an experience to my top ten list this week. Actually, two top ten experiences. I'm very grateful to co-workers for giving me this unique opportunity. It definitely keeps my spirits up during the stressful parts of the job and I feel honoured to have a career in aviation.
Next time though, I need to bring my camera!