Flying through the air

Lesson 3 – Straight and level, stalling

And did I panic?…

I associate it with getting on a roller coaster ride, up to the point where I’m strapped in and going up the highest point I’m fine, it’s the down I hate as I left my stomach back at the peak!

So this is my 3rd lesson.  The 1st lesson was fun as it was just a get to know the aircraft type lesson so nothing much going on.  Last week was my 2nd lesson and my instructor let the information rip.  Blah blah blah….  Datum altitude.  Altimeter, landing lights, roll,
yaw, rudder, breaks, fuel check.  Over whelming was definitely a good
word that day, along with faster-talker, I could barely keep up.

So this week I wasn’t sure what was coming, especially since my instructor
is off on holiday and I’m flying with another.  As usual the first 10mins is in the brief room giving a summary of what we were to practise in the air for the day’s lesson.  Today, flying straight and level.  Three things had to be remembered – altitude, level and speed.  Instuctor: “Any questions”

Me: “uh.. No.”

Instructor: “Then’s let’s go”

Out we went as I tried for the first time the plane checks; taxiing the plane to the runway using the rudders and breaks, and then finally, taking off.  Woo hoo ~~~

So everything was going well as I practised straightening out the aircraft using all the controls and doing all the checks as necessary.  That was until we came to the part
where I had to straighten up the aircraft to the correct altitude after slowing down.  Next thing I knew the aircraft began nose diving, at least I thought I was nose diving, down and all I could see were the trees and ground …

And did I panic?  I only found that I had withdrew my hands off the steering column and saw the land below as the plane began to nose dive.  As the instructor looked anxiously at me, “I have control” he confirms as he takes control of the aircraft and I let go of his arm.  Instantly correcting the plane and lifting it to the correct altitude the instruction turns to take glimpses at me, “are you OK?”

Looking back at the less than 10 second scenario that just unfolded, I had found that I let go of the steering column, grabbed the instructors arms and let out a scream…  Ahem
-_- ””””  %#&#*^£%!!!!!…..

In my defense I did warn the instructor well in advance that I don’t like going down, it makes me queezy still, just like a roller coaster ride.  I was later told that the aircraft
began to dip downwards because yes the aircraft had to be slowed (less throttle) for example like coming in for a landing but slowing the speed too much means there
wasn’t enough power to keep the aircraft from “falling out the sky” as it were.  This is otherwise known as stalling speed.  Ok!!!!! That’s good to know, I won’t do that again!

Coming in for landing again I was allowed to control the steering column while
the instructor controlled everything else.  This time I was more prepared for what was to come and actually enjoyed it second time round.

As the engine turned off I breathed a sigh of relief.  What an overwhelming lesson, do
checks, look outside, correct the altitude, am I flying straight, check the speed.  All these checks were put on loop as these things had to be consistently and constantly observed until the plane has safely landed.  There’s so many things it was absolutely overwhelming, but I survived.  What was especially cool was I got to try some new stuff and found that my sense of the controls is pretty good, definitely down to years of playing arcade games i.e. the proper motorcycle and driving arcades where your sitting on the equipment and having to control them.  Oh, and having driven a car fora really long time also helps too!  What I needed to work on is handling the control delicately, not like a angry hippo trying out ballet, but despite everything it was a good lesson today.  If nothing else, I learnt to be gentle with the throttle!  And if anyone asks, I was like, super cool in all my lessons, ok!  

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