Learning to Fly (20 years late)

I was the teenage lad in Little Miss Sunshine, obsessed with the idea of being a fighter pilot (and this is even before the days of Top Gun), yet blind as a bat.

Anyway after decades of sulking, I’ve finally decided to live the dream and started some flying lessons at Advantage Aviation out of Palo Alto (PAO). OK, so a Cessna 152 isn’t the RAF Tornado of my dreams, but its a start. Here are some first impressions after my first lesson:

  • Planes are small – ease off on the pizza, and choose a trainer you get on with
  • Taxi’ing is like controlling a tank (left pedal – turn left, right pedal – turn right)
  • Taking off is easy – get clearance, point down the runway, adjust flaps, up the throttle, speed up to 65-ish, and then pull back slightly (not too hard … loops on take off are a bad idea)
  • Staying level – this seemed to be a continuous balancing act, adjusting the throttle, angle of attack (ascent), trim … I’m told it will become as easy as riding a bike … we’ll see …
  • Instrument overload – talk about my brain working overdrive! Speed, height, ascent/descent indicator, heading, fuel guage, not to forget continuously scaning ahead of you (a common error of new pilots is to spend too long looking inside the cockpit).
  • Landing is hard – much harder than taking off, but not as hard as you might think, thanks to the VASI lights at the side of the runway. These help you stay in the optimum glide path by changing colour depending on your height (one red, one white is optimal, two white too high, two red – too low).

Here are a couple of pics – Cessna 152 internals, and work from the air.
cessna152work from the air

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6 Responses to Learning to Fly (20 years late)

  1. rashmi says:

    I am waiting for you to start writing about the design of aircraft controls (like everyone else who is into design and flying planes).

    I envy you – wish I had the guts.

  2. Fritz says:

    Good luck with the flight training. Do you supplement your flying time with any DVD Instruction video? I’m shopping for those right now and the best ones seem to be the ones from King Aviation, Sporty’s is another.

  3. rickb says:

    I haven’t investigated them yet … my next step befiore any lessons is to get my approval from the TSA …

  4. ralaker says:

    Good luck with four training! Take a look at the modern Diamond DA40 aircraft. These aircrafts are nice, see my blog…

  5. Hypiuyxx says:

    Hc8w5a comment2 ,

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