I took a “Discovery” flight with a local flight school today. It was my first time in the left seat of a plane, and it was a beautiful day for it.
I’ve been studying the ground school materials for several months now, and making big plans for going and doing an accelerated flight training program in the future, but I decided I should go ahead and get at least some time in a plane before I take the major step of taking a break from life and heading out of town for weeks of flight training. I’ve been in small planes before, just not as pilot, so I was familiar with the sensations, but no matter how well you prepare you never know how you’ll really react to a situation until you’re in it. Between the ground school videos and the books and the simulator, nothing the flight instructor John told me today was new to me, but of course it was also all entirely new because today I was there.
Despite all the preparation, there came a moment, sitting at the hold line just before we turned onto the runway to take off, when the healthy apprehension tried to turn to panic, and a part of my brain that had been screaming “Abort! Abort! Abort!” all morning long almost won. The instructor was great, though, and once we’d been off the ground for about five minutes all of that melted away. Once the panic was gone, the flight was really enjoyable. We stayed out for about 30 or 40 minutes I think. The time flew by.
Partially because of my schedule and partially due to other factors, I really can’t say for sure when I’ll be able to take that “flying vacation” for accelerated training, but I can say that I don’t want to wait until then to take my next flight. Between work and kids, literally every day of the week is spoken for during the Fall, but I’m going to try to find some time to schedule lessons anyway. One of the major reasons that I have been seriously considering doing accelerated flight training is so that I wouldn’t have the experience of going weeks between flights, so that I don’t spend part of each lesson just relearning what I’ve forgotten since last time. That’s still a real consideration…but I just want to get in the air again
The plane we flew in is a Grumman Cheetah, which is a make I had never heard of before today. The instructor was John Besherse of Learjet John Aviation, based at Pryor Field north of Decatur, AL. Everybody there was a delight, and seemed genuinely interested in my project of tracking my flight training via YouTube as well. I don’t think I could have found a better group of people to spend the morning of my first flight with.