View Full Version : Going Flying for my Birthday!
11-25-2003, 04:57 PM
The place: Kendall-Tamiami Airport, Miami, FL
The time: 10:00am
The day: FRIDAY!!!
The event: MY FIRST FLIGHT
My dad is a professor of aviation at a local college, teaching airline management and other subjects. However, as a licensed pilot, he sometimes gets to go up with the students and instructors on training flights.
A few months ago, after one of these sessions, he said that he'd love to take me flying. Jokingly, I replied "Well, if you're ever looking to get a great birthday present..."
*** Fast forward three months. ***
Well, my dad's booked the plane (a brand-new Cessna 172), the instructor, and time. I swear, this is the best birthday present ever... I'm really psyched, and apprehensive at the same time. I've created a flight in FS2004 with all the parameters for that day and have been practicing my techniques.
I've flown simulators since the Apple II days, but this is the real deal. I'm not really afraid - just curious as to how it's going to go. Grabbing a real yoke on a real airplane, criss-crossing a real sky with other real airplanes, and listening to the real chatter of real pilots with real ATC.
I'm obviously very excited. From those who have done this before, what should I expect?
11-25-2003, 05:23 PM
Well Happy Birthday Have Fun
You already sound hooked on flying
11-25-2003, 06:53 PM
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY" and enjoy!
"FOR ONCE YOU HAVE TASTED FLIGHT,YOU WILL EVER WALK THE EARTH WITH YOUR EYES TURNED SKYWARD. FOR THERE YOU HAVE BEEN,AND THERE YOU WILL ALWAYS LONG TO RETURN" You may expect this "longing",to last forever.
Sounds like ya got a great dad! Dont forget to get a log book, "SOLONG AND HAPPY LANDINGS" VIN:-wave
11-25-2003, 08:42 PM
What can you expect? See the Outer Marker forum for responses to several posts such as yours, but in a nutshell, it will be a mixture of familiarity (from your FS experience) and the brand new. The amount you can see, the motion, turbulence, noises (different from FS), feel, the differences in how the controls feel, the feedback you can get from the controls (if you pay attention), and much more, will be a totally new experience.
11-29-2003, 09:48 AM
So how was it? and a belated Happy Birthday :)
11-29-2003, 12:26 PM
Thanks for tailing off the thread - sounds like you are now well and truly hooked, well done and glad you enjoyed it.
My first flights were when I was in the British RAF Cadets in an old Chipmunk trainer soon to progress with a memorable flight in a Jet Provost - ejector seat and all. Believe me when you sit in one of those and the bloke helping you in with the straps hands you a pin and says "Your Ejection Seat is LIVE, Sir" it adds a whole new feeling to those white knuckles you had gripping the yoke. Especially having seen some training films a few days earlier where they were hosing the remains of a guy from a hanger roof that had pulled the strap whilst still in the hanger. I was fortunate to fly with one of the "then" Red Arrows aerobatics pilots who put the aircraft and my stomach through their paces. Loops, rolls you name it we went through the lot high above the Welsh countryside. I think the pilot was trying to see how much I could take before passing out - feeling goodness knows how many g's my eyeballs were somewhere near my throat. I took the controls for a while and went through some very supervised aerobatics myself then was abruptly shown how it "should be done" - never realised an aircraft could go through a barrel roll quite so quickly!.
These days I'm more accustomed to slightly less energetic flying but you'll never forget those precious first few memories - cherrish them, I'm sure you will. Hope you have many more to come too.
11-29-2003, 01:28 PM
wow! that story has made my day! what a great experience! -im buying my dad a flying lesson for his christmas present and now want one for myself, ive never really had the urge to actually go flying myself until now, but now im sure this coming year i will. thanks for that!
1 GB ddr
korg 48khz pci
11-29-2003, 02:41 PM
I enjoyed your story. You sound as enthusiastic as I was (still am). I often come here to unload details as fine as yours. Glad you enjoyed the flight and hope you follow it.
11-29-2003, 03:27 PM
Well done indeed! :) For a first lesson you pretty much covered the whole PPL syllabus in a nutshell, bar navigation and a few bits and bobs. I wish all my students were as switched on as you - instructing would be so much easier!
11-30-2003, 10:48 PM
I remember the first time my dad let me fly is plane, before he sold probably a year or 2 later. It was an upgraded mooney called a rocket. We were up at cruising altituted and he asked me if i wanted to try and fly it (i was probably only 9 or 10). The mooney, not being a basic trainer on any standars was very responsive. I didnt land or take off, thank #####. ATC had to remind us that our assigned altituted was 8000 feet, not 9500, or somewhere in those areas. I was probably only flying it for 15 minueted but i'll never forget it. The aircraft has been sold now, i think i may have cried seing it take off from the ground, instead of from the left rear seat behind my dad. its been a couple years now and he is looking for a partner to split the expenses with for another airplane, probably a cirrus, which is very simuler to a facter built lancair.
P.S my flightsim name is his old callisign: N57825
03-18-2005, 09:10 AM
Thanks! That was probably the most thrilling thing I've ever done. :) What an amazing experience. Here's the whole story:
After a thorough pre-flight of our brand-new Cessna 172, I taxied out to the runway (a bit wobbly, not being used to the whole steering-with-feet thing), called the tower for clearance, and we rolled out on to the centerline. Onboard were myself, Carlos the CFI, and my dad in the back, video-taping.
Then the instructor told ME to take off - something I had not expected at all. So I added the throttle, waited till we hit 65, and pulled back on the yoke. Let me tell you, as the altimeter started climbing, I was holding on to that yoke with a white-knuckle samurai death grip!
We then proceeded about 10 miles SW to a practice area for some maneuvering at 2000ft. We did gentle turns, steep turns (45 and 60 degree banks - feel the G's!), climbs and descents, and then some turning climbs and descents. Next came slow flight, both with and without flaps, so I could get a feel for how the plane behaves when we're landing.
Then we did some stalls, both power-off and power-on. Let me tell you, nothing has ever scared me as much as a power-on stall. Maybe for everyone else who has plenty of hours under their belt, they're no big deal. However, for a first-timer Disney World and Universal Studios can all go to hell with their cheesy "thrill" rides.
First off, the CFI contacted the tower and let them know we were doing power on stalls. Right there, I knew we were doing something a at least somewhat dangerous. The instructor told me to add full power and pull the nose up and keep holding back until the AS dropped below 40, then 30, while the stall horn is screaming in my ear and the entire airplane is starting to shake and the ground 2500 feet below is looking too close. All the while the CFI is telling me to "keep pulling back, keep pulling BACK" as all my senses are telling me to push forward and save our skins. :) After an eternal few moments, he finally told me to release pressure on the controls, the nose fell, AS picked up, the aircraft levelled itself, and all was right again.
I became a lot more confident and a lot more trusting of the aircraft as it went along. The FS time has definitely helped, but does not replace the real thing. I learned that it is vital to rely on the world around you and what you're seeing, as opposed to being glued to the instruments - thus flying VFR. Follow the gridwork of streets as opposed to riding the heading bug, etc. Also, listen to engine as opposed to watching the RPM's. Basically, become more in touch with the airplane and the world. Also, there are of course the physical sensations - the G-forces, the ears popping during a too-fast descent, everything moving too quickly when you make a too-abrupt control input. You learn to recognize what FEELS right, instead of being forced to look at your attitude indicator or VSI.
Then came the touch and go's. We flew back to the airport, setting the autopilot so that I could see how to do it. I contacted the tower and asked for clearance. They gave us straight-in clearance to 9R, the RW we had taken off from. We had a heavy crosswind, so the CFI helped me out some with the rudder, but let me control everything else.
One thing I noticed was definitely different was how steep the approach seems, as if we were diving straight at the runway. The CFI guided me through the whole approach, telling me when to set flaps, adjust power, etc. We floated a little once we were over the runway, but I flared and got both main wheels on the pavement alright. I was just happy I managed to get it on the pavement! :)
Then clean up flaps, full power, raise the nose, and we're off again! Staying in the pattern, I did four more touch and go's. The second or third one was much rougher (we had a few rattled teeth and a compressed vertebrae or two :) ) but the CFI said it was just like a short-field landing, not too bad. According to my dad, Carlos had seen worse.
The 4th one was definitely the freakiest for me. As we were on downwind coming parallel to the runway numbers, we contacted the tower, who told us that there was an inbound aircraft 3 miles out on final. They gave us the option to do a short final right then. So, instead of lining up a little ways out with the runway, we did an abrupt semi-circle right on to it (using those descending turns that I had learned earlier). It turned into a pretty smooth landing.
Much of the flight training reminded me of the The Karate Kid's whole "Wax on, wax off" thing. You learn little pieces of techniques (turns, descents, slow flight), then you learn to put them all together into more complex maneuvers. Very, very interesting. By the time you need to do these more challenging maneuvers, you've already done every part of them several times, so putting them together is not so bad.
Ironically, the most difficult part of the whole thing for me was taxiing. I'm already having a set of CH USB Pro Pedals shipped to my door as I write this! Steering and braking with your feet took some getting used to. In addition, it's the only time of the flight where I felt I had a signifigant chance of damaging our plane, someone else's plane, or anything else around us by slamming into it. The instructor had me keep my hands on my knees (to avoid a tendency to steer with the yoke). Also, the boots I wore have thick soles, so it was somewhat hard to "feel" the pedals' position.
After the 5th landing, my dad and I switched. My dad is a licensed pilot, but hasn't really flown in many years. However, you would never have known it from the way he handled the plane into the air, around the pattern, and then back down again. Just like riding a bicycle.
He did 2 touch and go's and a landing. His first one was great - you could barely feel the wheels hit the pavement. As we were going around the pattern again, Carlos jokingly commented that the first landing for a pilot who hasn't flown in a while is usually great. Then they get overconfident and don't concentrate as much, which is reflected on the second landing.
Well, my dad did his best to fight that statement, but the 2nd one was a little rougher (but not nearly so rough as my VTOL landing had been!). The third one, however, was terrific, just straight on to the pavement.
What a great experience it was for myself and my dad - male-bonding at its best! :) He even got me a small logbook, which I hope to use again someday. I'm just thankful we got to do it. Whether or not I pursue full-on pilot training, this day is something I'll remember well for years to come. My dad's giving me the tapes today, so I'm going to cut together a nice DVD for the two of us.
Below is a pic of myself and my wife Mary, standing in front of the C172 before the flight. Carlos, the CFI, is standing right next to the cockpit, with my dad right behind him.
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