Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lesson #1 Attitudes and Movements

My first official flight lesson.

It was a beautiful fall day, winds were light and there was about 30 miles visibility.

Preflighted the aircraft (under my instructor's watchful eyes), managed to only miss a couple of things on the outside of the aircraft. Once inside, out came the trusty checklist and I went somewhat slowly through it with my instructor's assistance. Fired her up, everything looked good, completed the preflight, Paula made the call to the tower and then I taxied us out to the hold short line. We had to wait a couple of minutes for another airplane (looked like a another 172) to make a landing, the landing looked good to me but Paula commented that it was a hard one. We then taxied out onto runway 03, checked a few things once more and off we went. I just love taking off part, the transition from "driving" to flying is addictive, I hope the thrill of it never goes away.

We headed about 10 minutes northwest of the airport to start the flying part of the lesson. At this time, Paula took out a map and showed me how the shoreline below matched what was drawn on the map, she said that it helps if you hold the map properly orientated with your heading.

Once in the training area we levelled off at 2000 feet and practised some 15 and 30 degree turns, both left and right. Paula first showed me what to do and then had me give it a try. I didn't do too bad, I was able to keep the correct bank, more or less, but I did manage to lose about 150 feet before my she reminded me to watch my height. We then did some low, medium and high rates of climbs and descents. In a steep descent one must remember to watch the tach, it briefly touched the redline before Paula pulled it back.

Next was climbing and descending turns. Paula showed my what she wanted and then I attempted to duplicate it, she offered advice as needed. She then had me adjust the trim to hold a turning climb without any input on the yoke, cool. Couple of things to be said about trim. First, I found myself constantly needing to trim the aircraft, whenever we changed our height or speed, the trim needed to be adjusted. Second, a untrimmed aircraft is not any fun to fly for any length of time, trim is your friend.

Before I knew it the lesson was over and we headed back to the airport. We joined the circuit by crossing the airport at midfield just as a regional jet was landing below to our left. Paula handled the landing, telling me everything she was doing as she did it, once down she had me taxi us back to our apron.

Paula said that is was a very good first lesson, and the only thing that I needed to remember was to use less brake and more rudder when taxiing.


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