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.

A quick email exchange with Rich, my instructor, and we were set up for this afternoon with a Piper Warrior. (This is like the Archer, but with 20 fewer ponies under the hood. Classic trainer.) This one’s a beauty – I think it was recently painted.

The Warrior
The Warrior - Today's ride

We spent about an hour discussing angle of attack and transitioning to and from straight and level flight to climbs and descents. Then it was out to the aircraft to do the pre-flight! After a thorough check, we fired up the engine and got ready to taxi. This time, I worked the radios. Fun!

We taxied out the run-up area, checked things over, and then got clearance to leave. Off we go! This time, things were much more relaxed. I kept my eyes more outside than inside, and was able to spend a few minutes looking around.

We took the Dumbarton departure as before, and headed to the Los Altos Hills.

The view out the front window
The view out the front window.

Now, sharp-eyed viewers will note that this picture is actually heading back, looking toward Mt. Diablo. However, I didn’t want to save all the pictures for last!

We went out over the hills toward the Pacific south of Half Moon Bay. There we practiced transitioning from straight and level flight to climbs and descents. We did cruise and slow flight.

Rich then asked if he could demonstrate a stall. Now, I’ve been thinking about flight training for well nigh on 40 years, and that’s the one thing I’ve always thought I would dread. However, I had confidence, and gave Rich the thumbs up. And with that, we did a series of power-off stalls. The Warrior sure stalls gently! No drama, just the stall warning horn, a bit of shudder, then the nose dips and we recover. Phew!

Me at the controls
Me at the controls!

Here’s a look around…

Looking North
Looking North
Out the pilot's window
Out the pilot's window
Looking South-east
Looking South-east
The view South
The view South

Well, before long it was time to head back. We turned toward Mt. Diablo and called the tower to let them know we were coming. We entered the left downwind and started bleeding off airspeed. We set up for final and settled in for a nice landing!

That was the flight! I was a lot more relaxed this time. I was able to spend more time helping to look for traffic (helping being a relative term at this stage), and I wasn’t as nervous about just being in a plane. There is an awful lot to think about and do before, during, and after the flight. I can see that you really have to get to the point where you don’t have think about the mechanics of just keeping straight and level so you can split concentration with the other tasks.

It’s a great experience, though. Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

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