For my birthday last year, my dad got me a gift certificate for an intro flight lesson (“Discovery Flight“) at SpanaFlight. I’ve been somewhat interested in learning how to fly, especially after getting to go up in a Piper Cub several years ago. Between foul weather, and then very hot weather, and then more foul weather, (and being nervous as hell about it) I didn’t get around to signing up for my flight until just recently… But I figured that since it was nearly time for my birthday again, I’d better get my butt in gear, nerves or no, and check it out!
Flight time was scheduled for 10am on Saturday, and thankfully the weather cooperated. The part I was most nervous about was how much I would be controlling the airplane. I haven’t been up in a small airplane in years, and I’ve never taken the controls of one. I was especially nervous about takeoff, but after being reassured by a few people that it was extremely unlikely that I’d be doing the takeoff since it was my first flight, I calmed down. Guess what, ladies?! You were WRONG! I was the one in control during takeoff, which thankfully is a much smoother experience in a small aircraft than a jumbo jet, but still nerve-wracking.
Nerves aside (the flight instructor thought it was hilarious that I was so nervous and freaking out on takeoff that I was shaking), it was awesome! The airplane was a Cessna 172M, and looking up the tail number online, it’s from 1972. I was in the left seat, with all the important gauges and dials. We went through the pre-flight checklist, fired her up. Steering while on the ground is hard, because you use the foot pedals to turn left and right, and the steering wheel does nada unless you’re in the air. Once we were up to about 2500 feet, the instructor showed me how to turn, and then we found the roads that lead to my house and I got to circle over my house! Destin saw us from the back porch, but because of the trees around our house, I couldn’t see him.
The instructor helped me get into the pattern for landing, and descending was a lot scarier than I thought it would be – on commercial flights, that’s the fun part for me – but in the Cessna, a little voice in the back of my head kept saying “you’re going to crash it!” as we got lower. I got the plane lined up (sorta) with the runway, and then the instructor did the actual landing. I didn’t think to take any photos in flight, but I got a couple once we were on the ground.
Since there’s the slight consideration of actually learning to fly, and this flight would count towards hour requirements, I bought a log book ahead of time, and the instructor filled out the first line for me once we landed. Now that the adrenaline has settled, I’m thinking it might be fun to go up again sometime!
Thanks again for the birthday adventure, Dad and Karen!