Intro Flight

Saturday, 14 August 2010 00:00

Today is the day that I got to see what it's all about. The introductory flight. I went to the Newton Municipal Airport and met with the flight instructor, Jack. He asked me several questions but the one that sticks out the most was "Why do you want to learn to fly?". With so many thoughts that come to mind when answering a question like that I was not sure what to say. I said that I love being in the air and that I love the view from up there. It's a feeling of freedom, excitement and exhilaration. He also asked what my goal is. At that point I wasn't sure what he meant. I have a tendency to over analyze questions like that and wonder what the motive is of the person asking. My goal is to earn the right to rent a plane and go flying when I want, and to take my family for "airplane rides". Much more than that, is my life long desire to fly. My only experience with flying before this intro flight was a few commercial flights. I have flown from Omaha to Ontario International in CA, with a stop in Vegas on the way out, and a stop in Phoenix on the way back. Then years later, flew to Las Vegas with a friend of mine with a stop in Dallas both ways. In 2007, took Allegiant Air on a direct flight to Las Vegas and back. Finally, in 2009 my wife and I flew to Las Vegas for our honeymoon. I have to say that the flying was much of the fun for each trip. I really noticed this on our direct flight to Las Vegas. I was a little disappointed that it was so quick, no additional take-offs or landings. So when we went back out there, I specifically found a flight that had 1 lay-over. Lucky for me, my wonderful wife does not enjoy sitting by the window. I LOVE sitting by the window. I spent my time looking at the ground, trying to approximate how fast we were going, looking for landmarks to try to track our progress, and then trying to guess our altitude. I don't know if everyone does that or not. I would like to think I'm not weird in that, but then again, if that makes me weird then I can live with that. I guess i should also mention my two helicopter flights, one because of an anaphyllactic reaction to a bee sting, and the other for a scenic tour of Wisconsin Dells.

Before today I had never been in control of an airplane except for the hours and hours spent on Microsoft Flight Simulator 98, 2000, 2004, and X. I had also never been on a small airplane. Today is the day that everything changes. We went out to the plane, a Piper Warrior II (PA28-161), low wing, single engine plane. The plane is small, 4 seats including the pilot seats. When Jack and I are in the plane it is shoulder to shoulder. Tight fit! We took of on runway 14. Once we got up to about 3000 feet MSL we leveled of and Jack let me "take the wheel". He had me use the foot pedals, controlling the rudder, to turn left and right. I also used the yoke to turn. We flew around for about 20 minutes or so then Jack lined us up for the runway and we landed. I know we talked a bit while we were up there but I have no recollection of the conversation. I was so hyped about flying that nothing could ruin my day. It was the first day in my life I got to actually control an airplane. It was also the day I realized that I would do whatever it took for it to not be the last. Any doubts in my mind about taking flying lessons and eventually earning a private pilots license were gone. It's all up from here.