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  <your background>
1.Q Tell me about the first time you can remember being thrilled.
1.A It was when I was three or four, can’t remeber exactly. My father worked as a supervisor at Zagreb International Airport and once he took my out on the runway. What thrilled me the most was standing beside the nosegear of a 300-ton Boeing 747 freighter that somehow made it there. Me, a kid, standing beside such a mass of metal, a mass that eventually heaved itself into the skies…it was unbelievable, being dwarfed by the tyre, let alone the entire plane. The whole machine was bursting with beauty and power…this sight alone hooked me onto aviation.
2.Q What's been your most frightening thrill ever?

As far as I can remember, apart from the numerous events during the Civil War 1991-95, was when my mother and I were going to Malta by plane. Just as we were rolling down the runway, nose in the air, something in the engine went loose and the engine shut down. Thankfully, we were able to stop before the end of the runway. I read many times about things like this, but I never thought I’d be in one.

On the way back, while approaching Zagreb a week later, we were flying through a thunderstorm that could very possibly tear a lighter plane apart. We were on the point of being diverted to another airport, but the pilot decided to ride through the storm and land. The turblence was strong, wind buffeting even stronger, the heart in my throat. Eventually, just as the gears touched the runway, a downpour as strong as I have ever seen it before came down. We landed in the nick of time.

3.Q What's the smallest or slightest thing to have thrilled you?
3.A There were many such; i couldn’t exactly pinpoint it…
4.Q Tell me why you're not a sensible person.
4.A What better proof than being a sport flyer before reaching maturity…
5.Q What were you doing the last time you were really bored?
5.A I created something, pushed my imagination as far as it goes.
6.Q What's the most uninhibited thing you've ever done?
6.A Taking up flying. I had no complexes or prejudices: I entered a society that was older than me, I took up something not expected of me, I went against popular opinion; and I didn’t give a damn about it.
7.Q What things have you considered doing for thrill, but were too concerned about the risks?
7.A Parachuting for one, but a few recent events in the parachuting world and my father’s, a senior parachuter’s, warnings set me off.
8.Q I always dreamt about being a paramedic, driving an ambulance and saving lives; what about you?
8.A A I have always dreamt about just speeding. Not in a car; that’s just fake; no, speeding in a plane, flying low, clipping the tree tops, pulling suddenly up into a violent maneuver and coming back down again like nothing happened. Feeling REAL speed…


  <your thrill>
  To answer these next 14 questions, you should think about a particular time you were thrilled.
9.Q Describe this thrill in a nutshell, in one sentence. (there's time to expand later)
9.A Almost euphoric, full of energy and pride.
10.Q Where and when did it take place?
10.A During summer 2002, in a small plane circling around Lucko Airfield in Zagreb, Croatia
11.Q Tell me a bit about yourself around this time.
11.A Around that time, I was still full of get-up-and-go about finally attending flight school, something I dreamt so long about. I was eager to fly, but not reckless and always


12.Q How did the moment arise? Was it planned?
12.A No, not at all planned, though I was expecting it for some time. It took me aback when it finally did arise…


13.Q List the sequence of events leading up to your thrill, and how you felt at each stage. The smallest detail could be important (this is your chance to expand).

It was to be my one of my first fully-solo flights. I usually had to be with an instructor, but when I accumulated enough flight hours, I was allowed to fly around the airfield without supervision to get a feel for the plane and build up confidence. The day started when I rolled up to the runway, already full of energy, happy, thrilled about finally being able to fly alone. The first thrill, always has been and always will be, is at takeoff, standing out on the runway with the engine on idle. I cannot explain it, but suddenly adding full throttle in one quick, decisive movement always thrilled me, the sudden strong acceleration, the roar of the engine, the blur of the propeller. It really made me feel as if I have all the power of the world at my fingertips.

Then, usually for a few minutes after takeoff, I usually don’t concentrate on how I feel; I ignore most of my bodily functions as I have to focus on the task of staying airborne and climbing to a certain altitude at which I can circle the airfield. As I level off and continue straight, I have enough time to focus on other things around me. That day, the weather was beautiful. As I climbed a mere 400 meters above the ground, I could see for more than a hundred kilometers in each direction; there was no fog, no clouds, only the heat haze in the distance. Had I climbed higher I would have possibly seen the Adriatic sea, almost 200 km away.

Watching this, looking down at the terrain rolling slowly beneath me, the cluster of buildings, Zagreb, behind me, the beautifully green mountain to my right. Suddenly, I realised something; I was alone here; I was really flying this thing, something I waited for for more than a decade; this bucket of bolts, the 100 horses up front, were at my command. My life-long dream came true, I was here. I was, literally, above it all. I was no longer bound to the ground. My head was a mix of emotions; pride, joy, happiness, euphoria. It gave me a new decisiveness, a new will to go on and pursue what I wanted – after all, I did it, I was here, I was 17.

14.Q At the exact moment of thrill, how did your mind and body feel?
14.A How did my mind feel I pretty much described above. Yet my body remained much the same. My hands were on the control yoke and throttle, my feet on the rudder peddals – I could not afford any violent and unpredictable movements. Only my muscles tensed and a new energy flowed through me.
15.Q What thoughts were going through your head?
15.A That this is the beginning, that I made it against many odds, that once again I have achieved what I desired despite everything thrown my way. I was master of the skies…and nobody could take this moment away from me.
16.Q What did you do immediately afterwards?
16.A After landing I just sat on a chair near the plane, leaned back against the fuselage and sat there enjoying the beautiful day and recollecting myself.


17.Q What were the most likely things that could have put you off going through with it?
17.A Well, there are many risks in the entire deal of flying; a tyre could burst, a fuel tank catch fire, an engine malfunction, an instrument go dead…but I was unconcerned. Not reckless, but confident in my abilities to handle such a situation and bring the aircraft to a safe landing and surviving to tell about it.


18.Q How were other people important to your thrill?
18.A Well, most important were my parents for allowing me to go to school and my flight instructor who taught me the precious skill of flight.
19.Q What do you imagine other people were thinking throughout your thrilling episode?
19.A Most people who were at the airfield at that time probably thought nothing of it; just another pilot flying around in circles. Only the resident pilots, my colleagues from the flying club who passed through this same thrill could possibly understand. No words were needed; just smiles.
20.Q Some people probably don't understand how such a thing can thrill you; explain it to them.
20.A Better than an explanation is a demonstration. Go to your local flying club and take a ride. Only then will you be able to understand. Trying to explain it with words is impossible. Language wasn’t made for what I experienced that day.


21.Q Why were certain objects or equipment important to your thrill?
21.A Well, the most important this was of course the aircraft itself. Without it, I could just as well continue dreaming on.


22.Q If you've done something like this before, how does the last time compare to the first time you did it?
22.A Every flight is different as everytime the conditions are different. Yet the thrill is always present, undimmed, whether flying around the airfield, high through the clouds or down through valleys, above forests or hugging sea waves. Witnessing dawn or dusk airborne fills you with emotion whenever you see it.
23.Q If you did it again, what things could be added or changed to make it even better?
23.A This time, I would climb higher, much higher…
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what do you find thrilling?