Aerial Shots

Well, I woke up today sincerely believing that this would be the last morning of my life. Why? Because the plan for the morning was to go up in a shitty little Cessna with another member of our team to film aerial shots of some of the beautiful lakes that dot this country. (Spoiler alert: I ended up surviving the flight…just barely.) However, I wasn’t exactly afraid because diving down into Lake Nicaragua in the early morning is pretty high up on the list of ideal ways to die.

When we got to the airport with a pilot friend of ours who was gracious enough to fly us around, I was immediately surprised by the size of the airplane. This surprise was multiplied when the man who worked at the airstrip was able to easily pull the plane out of the hangar and into position all by himself. 800 kilos? That’s like two large motorcycles! “Jesus,” I thought, “There’s no way we’re going to survive this one.” To give you an idea of the plane’s size, only myself, the pilot and Jordi (our cameraman) could comfortably fit inside without the plane being too heavy to take off.

Miraculously enough, though, the plane was able to take off and away we went! Our route took us all the way up to the perfect cone of Volcán Momotombo, straight down Lake Managua’s shore, over the city, past Laguna de Masaya and Laguna de Apoyo (where we filmed a beautiful time lapse yesterday morning) and back to the airstrip! The flight was disappointingly free of turbulence–good for filming, bad for adrenaline–but it was fantastic to be able to see both the dramatic lakes in this country and its marvelous old cities from two thousand feet (a particularly fantastic experience with the plane’s windows open).

My opportunity for adrenaline came as we approached the airstrip for landing. There was quite a bit of wind on approach and I could not help but to think that we would miss the runway because of how much we were moving from side to side. Sadly, disaster was averted because our pilot was quite capable and landed the plane smoother than I thought possible.

Quite an experience, to say the least. Our shots are beautiful and will serve well to give our documentary the grandeur that it deserves. Off to León on Tuesday!

-Richard Hansen