Saturday, April 16, 2011

Take off, eh!

Today, my first real flight lesson.  I've taken three "discovery" flights and I've flown in a glider.  Now I'm going for it -- I'm working to get my Private Pilot License.  Yeah!

I tried to fly on Thursday evening, but it was too windy.  It's always windy in West Texas, but the wind didn't line up with any of the runways.  So we didn't fly that day.  

I'm taking lessons at Odessa-Schlemeyer Field in Odessa, TX.  It's about a 25-minute drive from my house in Midland.  The flight school there uses a Diamond DA-20.  This is a 2-seater plane unlike the Cessna 172 used by most schools.  The Diamond is also much lighter and more glider-like:

Today was windy too, but it was out of the south, which lines up well with a runway.  The south wind was bringing in smoke from the Rockhouse Fire burning down near Fort Davis, Texas.  Visibility was not great.

After our pre-flight check we hopped in the plane and taxied to the runway, where we did another series of pre-flight checks.  The engine is fuel-injected and the plane is fairly new, so it was much easier than the carbureted engines in the old Cessnas.  Everything seemed pretty familiar.  The stick (vs yoke controls) was something new.

We had the engine on for 8/10 of an hour (that's how they charge -- engine-on time), and flew around Odessa.  I did some fairly sharp turns with yoke + rudder, and adjusted the throttle, maintained altitude and used the GPS a little.  Also worked on controlling airspeed, gaining and losing altitude, and doing a traffic pattern to prepare us for a landing.  Lots of fun!  Next lesson on Tuesday, wind permitting...


Aunt Colleen said...

How exciting Andy! I remember you going up with a friend of mine when your were a little guy. Flying high!

Plants Amaze Me said...

Be careful up there! How many hours/lessons before you are a pilot?

I remember going up with you in the plane with Colleen's friend. Dad was on-call for the ambulance so had to stay on the ground, Ryan was a newborn. You were not quite two years old. We have a pictures (or slides) of that time.

stratovolcano said...

I remember flying over GH when young, but I don't think it was the trip with Aunt Colleen's friend. It was some kind of festival at the GH Memorial Airport. I was amazed at how the cars looked like Matchbox toys.

@mom, it officially takes 40 hours of flight time plus ground school. But the national average is more like 60 hours of flight time.

Tonia said...

Now I know what non-married guys do on their days off. Ben on the other hand looks at the skies with longing while pushing the three year old on the swing. Poor guy.