Intro Flight Completed!

Woke up at the crack of dawn this morning to give Buttonville dispatch a call to make sure the intro flight was still a go. Everything is good, so I head down to be at the airport at 815.

I took care of all the paperwork and only had to wait less than five minutes for the instructor to meet me. Introduced each other and headed to the airfield. At first she really didn’t seem into it, but as soon as I started asking questions she seemed more interested.

We did the walk around, I got to check the fuel for sediments/contaminates (I’m sure the only reason is because the FI didn’t want to do it ;) ). She started to quiz me:

FI: What’s that?

Me: The Ailerons!

FI: *a little surprised* Good!

By this point I didn’t detect that “unwillingness” anymore from her! So we hop in, and she starts going through her pre-start checklist. Fires up the engines and we’re off. She lets me taxi to runway 33 all the while explaining how the torque of the engine causes the plane to yaw and its necessary to apply more right rudder when taxiing. This whole time, I wasn’t nervous at all. We hold short of the runway and she asks the tower if we can take off, they clear us and off we go. The FI is just going to control the throttle and she lets me know when to pull on the yoke to take off. A lot sooner than I thought! I was surprised that the airplane can accelerate that fast.

We climb to about 2500 feet and we continue heading north to Cooks Bay (aka, Lake Simcoe) and I start quizzing her on airspace. She showed me how to read the map and what altitude which airspace starts, ends, etc… The area we’re heading for is Class “G”, or uncontrolled.

FI: So is there anything you want to do, turns?

Me: Uhmm.. how about a stall?

FI: Sure, we’ll need to climb higher.

I pull the nose up a bit, and she adjusts the throttle/trim. She takes the controls and drops the RPMs and points the nose up. The plane stalls. The whole thing was pretty anti-climatic and I agree, a little shuttering, the nose drops, and that’s it! Apparently power-on stalls are more violent. She suggests we do a steep turn. This is the first time I actually “feel” the plane. I think the bank was around 30-45 degrees. You can actually feel the G forces push you against your seat.

It’s time to head back. So I turn the plane and start heading back to the airport. She shows me some landmarks you can use to determine how far from the airport you are. This is important because you have to request permission to enter Buttonville’s airspace.

Me: So when would you ever be denied entry?

FI: Uhmm.. If it’s really busy, the controller would ask you to circle and hold.

I think I’ve learned more about this area in the 30 min in the plane, than my entire 20 years of living here. We can see so much when you’re 2500′ in the air.

FI: Do you know the phases of the circuit?

Me: Yup!

So she explains which landmarks I can use for making turns for the base and final legs. It wasn’t until Im writing this do I realize it was a right hand traffic pattern (which is the opposite of most airports?). So I’m on final and surprised to find I’m still in control. The FI adds some flaps and adjusts engine speed. She’s telling me what to do as the plane is getting closer and closer to land.

FI: You still ok?

Me: Yup!

FI: Ok, keep the nose down, i’m going to add more flaps which will cause the plane to pitch up.

Me: Ok.

Right above the numbers, she drops the throttle. I see that there are two other planes waiting to take off.

“You guys are waiting for us! hah!” I think to myself.

By this time she’s holding onto the yoke and controlling the decent, we flair, and land!

I can’t believe it’s over!

I taxi back to the parking spot and she goes through the shutdown checklist. We chat about what the next steps are as we head back to dispatch. The feeling of walking on the ramp was pretty cool.

I take care of some paperwork and the FI explains that I can use this time towards my license! So, I’m going to add 0.9 hours to my flight time counter.

The FI was an excellent instructor, she was able to answer all of my questions and admitted to me that I’ve been one of her more interesting intro flight students. Yay!

So where are the photos you ask? Well, I was so excited to get out the door this morning.. I forgot my camera at home :(

So what’s next? I’m going to think about things for the next few days. The FI did mention that I should spend some time thinking about which training path I want to take.

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3 thoughts on “Intro Flight Completed!

  1. Just a few updates:
    We were flying a 172, which is a 4 seater. That might explain for the faster than anticipated acceleration.
    Jen also showed me why you use the rudder when making a turn (to make it co-ordinated). I was curious why she wasn’t using the rudder when I was making smaller adjustments to the heading. You only really need to use rudder when you are making standard/steep turns.

  2. Sounds like you had a great familiarization flight, Blake.
    Sit down and think hard about your instructor choice before you commit. It sounds like you had a great time with this one, but it’s not a bad idea to try out a few others with half hour Fam flights as well if you want to get a better feel.
    Personally, I made the connection with my own instructor on the first Fam I did, and I’ve stuck with him ever since and been very happy with my choice, but others have not been so lucky.
    Regardless, it sounds like she is indeed interested knowing that you are going to pursue things.
    The initial lack of enthusiasm on your instructors behalf was likely due to the fact that these guys (and gals) do many, many of these during a week. The majority of the people that take Fam flights never pursue a licence, but just do it for the experience. Others yet think it’s just a big game and do it for a hoot.
    I’m sure that it gets tiring doing the same thing over and over again with strangers who really have no interest in pursuing things past an initial fam flight.
    When you showed interest and knowledge, and wanted to log the time, that’s the difference for an instructor between just “another fam flight” and a prospective student,
    Keep up the good work, and see you at soon. ;-)

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