Thursday, August 20, 2015


At the beginning of July, I mentioned my intention to start the flying school at the Rockcliffe Flying Club. I've actually already started.

It's a bit of a process. In July I started cost-cutting measures like saving the data on my phone, etc. Then I applied for membership at the club, starting me on a proper course that was given to me at a later orientation meeting. After doing some budgeting and working six days straight at Wal-Mart, I started my lessons while booking the required physical for the license. That was dealt with this past Monday.

I had my first lesson last Wednesday. It was largely teaching, and then time on a flight simulator to show plane attitudes in real-time. Today was my second lesson. It was in the air.

I'm considering it a milestone, and it's largely why I haven't talked about my progress on here up to now. Today, I did all the ground checks, the instrument checks, taxied the plane, and literally took off from the ground on my own with the instructor instructing.

Way better than trying to fly a silly little drone with a camera, from the ground.

The lesson was 90% fine. The last 10% was during the descent, where the instructor took over. For some reason, I experienced motion sickness for the first time, and the result ended up on my shirt after we landed. Despite that, I had the instructor take a picture of me with the plane afterwards, soiled shirt and all.

It was an extremely immersive, all-controlling experience. We flew around a designated practice area - Gatineau, essentially - where I banked, went straight, stayed level, increased and decreased speed, and maintained altitude. It was pretty good for a first time (I wasn't all over the place, changing altitude or yawing all the time) and in general the experience was almost kind of liberating. I did use a bit too much elevator during take off - I literally shot the plane into the sky - but that was the best part. Take off has always been the best part of a flight for me. It was just the unusually nauseous landing.

This wasn't a time for staring down at the ground through the windows of course, though I used landmarks ahead to help me gauge my use of the controls. The funny aspect of this was that we largely followed Autoroute 307, which is the main highway my father has always used since my childhood to go to the cabin. I rode with him as a child on that road, and today I flew along over it as an adult. We also encountered some rain, which streamed along the windshield without being much of an issue, and looking up at the clouds just above us was quite spectacular as we were literally moving along under them - they passed over pretty quickly.

The only real issues were the hot humidity. Before take-off, I was dripping under that bright windshield. That, combined with how tense my legs were on the rudder controls (I had my seat advanced as far as possible to reach them) and my general tenseness (at first) on the control column is what I believe helped me feel the way I did near the end.

It's been a very neat learning experience so far. As I mentioned before, I find it interesting, and in general how the plane moves and stays in the air is pretty fascinating. Not to mention just leaving the ground and being able to be high above, going where you want, no buildings or ground obstacles in your way.

I just need to bring a cushion for next time. You know those people who are so short in the car, they require a cushion to sit on to see over the dashboard? I need one at my back to get me close to those darn pedals. I'm so darn short. I was able to maintain the rudder in general, but only with tensed legs applying pressure all the time, and that's not comfort or the way to do it.
Now to work another five-day week.
Aug. 19th, 2015 - First flight lesson. I.e., the first time I flew a plane.

Red Cloud

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