First Official Flight

Good morning sunshine! Or not. Woke up to this:



Around 3am this morning (after lots of studying Friday night/Saturday morning – I really know how to have fun right?), I was halfway through chapter 3….yes! (Recall I needed to finish chapter 1-3’s quizzes before I could schedule my first flight) I woke up at 8am and finished everything by 11am.

We have an online flight scheduler so I set myself up for a time Sunday morning (tomorrow). I noticed that one instructor had early afternoon open today, but what were the chances I could actually schedule a flight with 2 hours notice? And it was still rainy….

As it stands though, I have fairly excellent luck. I got my 1:30pm flight block, and just as I was leaving for the airport, I was treated to gorgeous, warm, radiant beams of sunlight.

Here is this afternoon’s weather (looking towards the runways from the flight school parking lot).


First lesson: mostly ground stuff with only a small bit of flying. Totally fine with me. But because of the rain in the morning, the other students were still waiting around to have their lessons. Mine wouldn’t be pushed, but it would be a bit rushed. Darn.

I got an overview of the Fairbanks airport’s layout and an interrupted intro to preflight steps. Preflight of the 152 itself was too rushed for me because I’ve never done it before. Glad the instructor could take control of all that.

Off to the actual flight!

I was too busy flying (!) to take pictures of the lovely day and fall colors, but this is the current view from the Geophysical Institute.


I knew there was a good reason I’ve always loved this season (Not much leaf color change in Georgia/Florida you know. At least we have the year-round insistence on palm tree Christmas lights.).

Instructor did takeoff and then I was prompted to take the steps to fly around the boundaries of my practice area (straight&level, climbs, descents, level turns, climbing turns). Couldn’t tell if the instructor was doing anything at all (he assures me that it was certainly me doing most of the work – cool!). I never expected that such small control movements could have such large effects – just like how I’m still surprised that the “small” [relative to the plane’s size] control surfaces (trim tabs, ailerons, etc) can change the plane’s movement as much as it does.

I guess I still have the ‘car driving frame of mind’ where you turn the wheel a lot every time you want to turn on the road. The plane allows a ‘quick’ 360 degree turn with just about 2 inches of hand movement.  Weird!


Things to work on:

  • Cannot understand anyone on the radio. I also don’t notice that they are speaking at all (I filter out every voice but the instructor’s). Not sure how to stop that.
  • I do not know where the practice area is. I can find it on a map, but in the air, the multicolored tree tops are bewildering. I’m supposed to see 2 hills and 2 swampy areas. Uhhh, nope.
  • All turns make me feel like I am descending – even those perfectly executed climbing turns. My senses deceived me even while I watched the vertical speed indicator/altimeter. Completely strange feeling.
  • I may want to avoid weekend flying because that is when everyone wants lessons. I do not like being rushed!

5 thoughts on “First Official Flight

  1. Radio definitely seemed like gibberish for the first few lessons to me as well. But once you get the hang of it it’s seems so easy! But then you solo and go into cross countries and it becomes gibberish again! I remember when I first started training I always tried to steer with the yoke! Sometimes I still do it!


  2. All of those things you mention… before long, you’ll have a new list and you won’t even remember that those were a thing! Just remember and trust that each thing builds on the last, and try not to think too far ahead. By the time you need to worry about getting to the training area, you’ll have seen it many times and had plenty of conversations on the radio! 🙂 Welcome to the club and keep up the great work!


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