It was supposed to be an ordinary birthday present. Actually, not so much ordinary as original. A plane trip at the end of winter over the snow-blown and ice-frozen Tatras. From Boľkovce airport near Lučenec on board a four-seater Diamond DA40 TDI aircraft of Flying service – Sky Story. The weather was perfect for a wingsuit trip, light winds just over 10 knots from the west, visibility over ten kilometers, partly cloudy. Over the hills, which are the target of the flight, high and moderate clouds and sunny. Plane ready for apron in front of hangar. Passengers and the main actors of the trip settled, chained. The pilot requests clearance via radio communication for launch, subsequent taxi to the holding point, runway entry and subsequent take-off. And that’s where it all really begins.
Oliver, a young guy, the author of the idea to “surprise his girlfriend” on the occasion of her birthday. Ekaterina, a charming smiling lady with an incredibly beautiful accent and a nice exotic name. I know, the people and cast in most stories are mentioned in the end credits, but we want to be a little different and original, and most importantly, we want everyone to know who the main stars of tonight’s whole birthday celebration story aboard the plane actually are. And since the rest of us weren’t so lucky, we enjoyed their takeoff and stayed at the airport to wait for their return. The actors themselves had to tell us more about the dramatic last-minute change of plans, an important life decision. Ekaterina and Oliver.
Who among you came up with the idea of a plane flight as a birthday present and why?
My very good friend and I were relaxing at the cottage and in the middle of a barbecue we were having to celebrate my girlfriend’s birthday, we noticed a small sport plane flying over us. At that moment, we thought we could reminisce about our past experiences together when we met in Alaska. And so we decided to take to the air again and repeat our flight together.
The author of the dramatic moment over Ďumbier in the Low Tatras, when the purpose of the flight changed from one minute to the next, is Oliver, I suppose, what was the reaction of your partner when she found out that the birthday flight was turning into an engagement flight?
Yes, I have been toying with the idea of proposing to my long-time girlfriend, now fiancée, for quite some time. However, during the pandemic and with the ongoing measures and restrictions, it was not at all easy to come up with and organise something that would be an unforgettable experience that we could remember for a lifetime. That’s why I thought of giving the aforementioned flying as a birthday present. Combining it with a proposal and asking on a plane over the beautiful snow-capped peaks of the Low Tatras was supposed to be just one big last-minute surprise that only I knew about. I would love to see Ekaterina’s reaction again as she showed so many emotions in a very short time, from surprise, disbelief to joy and happiness. But that’s also why it took some time until I got the answer I was anxiously awaiting, “YES”!
You took off as partners, landed as fiancés. Would you recommend such a thing to others? If you had the chance, would you make the same decision again and get engaged in a plane over the snow-covered Dumbier in the Low Tatras?
The whole experience was incredibly beautiful and definitely unforgettable! It fulfilled in every way what we expected from it. We can only recommend such an experience to everyone. The whole day was amazing, from the meeting at the airport, to the great pilot, to the comfort on the plane, to the beautiful weather! We certainly don’t regret it and would love to do it again. Once again, THANK YOU all very much for a great experience!
Thank you both for your willingness to talk about your experience. We wish you all the best and congratulations.
Text and photo: Juraj Uhliar, Oliver Šnejt