When is a flying lesson not a flying lesson?

I decided a few weeks ago that it was time to try another flying lesson. My instructor, Rich, had given me a syllabus during our first lesson, but my first two lessons were really “see if I can even handle being in a plane” sessions. Rich had said that for our next session, we’d cover pre-flighting the aircraft in-depth. So after a six-month hiatus, I sent Rich an email and asked if he was ready to give me the pre-flight lesson. He was!


Second flight!

Today I had my second flying lesson! I wanted to have at least one more, because the first one was such a new and overwhelming experience (given my nerves about flying, etc.). I thought that in order to do justice to the experience, I owed it to myself to find out what it was like when I wasn’t worried about what was coming next.


First flight!

For about 40 years now, I’ve wanted to fly a plane. I grew up directly under the flight path of Moffett Field in Mountain View, California, and loved to watch the P-3 Orions, F-104 Starfighters, U-2 “atmospheric research” planes, and still more Orions. An avid airplane buff, I’ve always liked hanging out near a runway watching the planes take off and land. I’ve read every book I could get my hands on on the subject, and “flown” every version of Flight Simulator since Bruce Artwick wrote it for the Apple II and TRS-80.

About the only thing I haven’t done is been in the pilot seat. Why? Well, for one thing, I’m afraid of flying. Talk about irony! I had a few bad experiences in airliners, but I really don’t like turbulence and the sense of not having control over my destiny. I always wondered if being the one doing the flying would help, but I haven’t ever gotten brave enough to find out. Last week, I decided that had to change, and today, I took my first flying lesson.