Life is way too short. There are many reasons why someone would like to take flying lessons…for the thrill, the advantages of getting from one place to another in a shorter amount of time than driving, enjoyment, etc… Many reasons.
For me, the driving force is to get places fast. I really need to start visiting my family in North Carolina more. I need to see my nieces and nephews. I don’t want to be that uncle who never visits, or the one who the kids hear a lot about but never really got to know.
My dream is to have my family waiting for me at the Wilmington International Airport (KILM) and for them to watch me land in my own plane. I really think that would be something.
My father has talked about getting his pilot’s license and getting a plane, but never got around to it. Maybe some day. Until then, he will have to sit in the passenger’s seat. Maybe I will let him fly…a little.
I looked around the area for a small airport and bumped into the Orange County Airport (KMGJ). It’s about a half hour from where I live. I called Quade’s Flight School. Gary answered the phone. He seemed like a very nice guy who has been around planes for a very long time. I set up the “Intro” flight lesson for $60. Basically, it is a half hour flight to get the tip of your toe wet. When you land, you say, “Sign me up, I am taking out a loan” or “Get me the hell out of this thing.” I said “Sign me up, but I will pay by check.”
We went up in his trainer…a Piper Cherokee. The intro flight consisted of learning about the pre-flight inspection of the plane, going over the checklist, taxiing to the runway, takeoff, some maneuvers and landing. The instructor, Gary let me perform some turns at about 2500 msl (mean sea level). That was pretty cool. I have never controlled an airplane before, so that was a thrill. I flew by myself for about 15 minutes. When we were approaching the airport for landing, Gary cut the throttle. He said he liked to do this for the new students to show that if an airplane of this size loses the engine in mid-air for some reason, you won’t spiral out of control and plummet to the earth. We landed very smoothly with no power.
After we landed and taxied to the hangar, Gary asked me if I was in. I said I was and set up my next lesson for Sunday, August 20 and 10:30 AM.