Flight Lesson #1 or “The Hand Grenade”

More news about my education in aviation, for both of you keeping score at home. lol…

Today was the first honest-to-goodness, up-in-the-air flight lesson. It started with a significantly long class and briefing. Then the instructor took me out to the little Cessna 172 and did the pre-flight. I learned a TON just during the pre-flight, but the real learning experience came when just as we started the take off roll, the instructor said “Ok, you take off.”

Initially, I thought me meant “take off” like in “Oh, take off, hoser!” ya know, like Bob and Doug MacKenzie? But nope. He actually expected me to pull back gently on the yoke so I did. And the little plane lifted effortlessly into the clear afternoon.

I’ve told a few people already that the sensation was a little like one I experienced in my early Army training. We were on the grenade course, and had been playing with grenade simulators all day. Finally, they take you into the real range, hand you a live grenade and tell you to pull the pin. At that instant, you realize that, uh oh!, there’s a friggin’ LIVE hand grenade in my hand!

It’s kind of like that.

Screwing up in either case would be an eventful proposition, so in today’s case, I tried to concentrate on what I was doing.

The big lesson from today was that there’s an AWFUL lot going on, and I am at the moment, incapable of handling all the sensory input, the instruments, comm and all of that. It’s really quite overwhelming and intimidating. I kept thinking to myself “I’ll never be able to process all this AND have fun at the same time.” But like anything else, it’s a matter of practice and more practice.

I really enjoy the academic part of the training. I suppose that’s because failure in the classroom has such a lesser consequence. I definitely learned that it’s serious business when you’re actually in the air.

It was a most challenging day in that regard. So far, so good, though.

I have LOTS of homework to do!

By the way, I also had the chance to attend their customer appreciation day picnic on Saturday and got to interact with a number of pilots at various stages of their training. All of them made the same recommendation.

I am doing ground school and flight training at the same FBO. So there’s a great deal of continuity of training between the two.

And I am VERY glad that I chose to do the ground school as a classroom option rather than self study. I would recommend taking a class as opposed to computer based study ANY day!

And thanks to y’all for the feedback and advice!

I did the high wing today. Cessna 172S (I believe!) Fuel injected not carburetor.

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