Jake takes flight!
We created an AIRPLANE MONSTER in Jake when we introduced him to Youtube.com in preparation for our Disney trip in 2010. Over the next year or two, we’d collected every Matchbox airplane sold at every Wal*Mart within a hundred miles. We’d sat through hours of videos of planes landing and taking off at airports all over the world. We carried bags of planes everywhere we went. We even went through a crash phase, where Jake was obsessed with planes crashing at air shows, etc.
Unlike more mature and verbal autistics, Jake cannot tell you every make and model of airplane, or wax eloquently about the pros and cons of prop vs. jet engine. He just knows what he likes; and he likes planes.
It became obvious that we were going to have to do something special for this little guy. I contacted Katahdin Air Service, which runs a charter and guide service out of Ambajejus Lake. The plane has pontoons instead of wheels, and for a moderate fee, you can get a trip from the Lake, around Mt. Katahdin, and back.
My Dad got him a hat from the Millinocket Airport, and I loaned him my Aviators. We were ready. The day of our first appointment, it was too windy to make flying practicable, but because cell service is so spotty that far out in the boonies, we didn’t get our cancellation notice until we got there. Jake was upset, but handled himself surprisingly well. We got to fly on Day #2.
The one thing I was worried about was the obvious noise factor. I wasn’t sure if Jake’s trademark headphones would be sufficient protection. I never even thought that he’d get to wear a pair of “airplane headphones.” They significantly reduced the engine/propeller noise, and they also allowed us to talk to one another. That being said, except for the occasional, “Having fun, buddy?” and “Yup,” we didn’t speak much. He was too engrossed.
We took off from the water, and after only a minute, banked right towards the mountain. It was awesome! Jake was glued to the window. He wasn’t outwardly excited, but he wasn’t at all scared, either. He was just serenely taking in everything around him. The whole trip took maybe 40 minutes or so, and I’ve never seen him to rapt for so long.
I knew it was money well spent. He talked of nothing else for weeks! The pilot was courteous, the flight was perfect, and Jake even got a little extra time to explore the cabin before and after the ride.