One summer day, Mom found me playing outside on the swing set Dad had welded for us. She informed me it was now time for my first “spin.” Of course, I had no idea what that meant, but I eagerly accepted her invitation and climbed into the airplane.

We were having a perfectly normal flight and I was happy when Mom started telling me about the maneuver called the spin. She warned me that I might be scared a bit at first but to stay calm because she had everything under control, even if it didn’t seem that way.

I knew what a stall was because knowing how to deal with an emergency is a crucial part of learning how to fly. I had heard the stall warning horns before, so I saw no need for alarm … at first.


Suddenly, it felt like the clouds had been lifted out from under us. Not only were we now plummeting toward the earth, but we were spiraling or spinning toward the earth at a rapidly increasing speed as well. I let out a scream I’m pretty sure could still be heard on some sound wave somewhere in the universe. 

But almost as quickly as we had gone into the ‘spin,’ Mom pulled us out of it. We leveled off and climbed back up to about a ten-thousand-foot ceiling and cruised on back home. Wow. I’m the first to admit that I probably wouldn’t have chosen this method as my daughter’s introduction to spins, but once I got over the fear, I realized why Mom did it that way.

Life comes at you unexpectedly. We often don’t get a second chance. We have to live with the consequences of our knee-jerk reactions. She told me that a lot of practice and experience went into that lesson. She taught me that forming good habits in my youth would help safeguard me throughout my life.

She knew I wouldn’t grasp the importance of that lesson in that moment, but she also knew I’d grow to understand it and I believe I have. But what I did readily grasp that day, in that moment, was that a “spin” was crazy good fun. And no roller coaster in the world could match the fun of my mom’s airplanes. Take that Six Flags.