Sunday, 9 March 2014

Life: Why don't I learn to fly an aeroplane? I mean, how hard could it be?

Back in the 70s, I decided that a good thing to do would be to learn to fly! Cessna had just released the 152 and flying schools everywhere seemed to have them in their fleet.

Cessna 152.. how hard can this be?

Relatively cheap to run.. so more 'affordable" lessons. Why did I want to learn to fly?

It's obvious... actually, I have no idea! I was and still am an aeroplane nut... who knows?

Anyhow.. lesson one.

Check the aircraft out, kick the tyres etc, open the window and yell, "Clear the prop!" Made me feel rather foolish at the time.. but they's the rules. Start the little thing up, check magnetos and then away we go taxing out to take off.

Now.. it looks easy... but as we rolled down the runway I couldn't get the bloody thing to travel in a straight line. So here I am veering left and right as I try to master the rudder pedals as we hurtle down the strip. At some point I could sense the little plane wanted to take off.. but I am somehow pushing forward on the column.. cause we're not taking off until we're travelling in a bloody straight line!

Now I hear the instructor's voice.. "If you don't take off soon we will need to open the gate at the end of the runway to cross the road!"

Ease back on the column and we're airborne. Wow! This is great.. reel in the flaps, climb out and then trim the aircraft and away we go around the blue skies! And it seems so easy. Push the column forward and the houses get bigger; pull it back and the houses get smaller!

I could get used to this.

Yep.. I really could get used to this!

So more lessons please!

A few weeks later after a run down and around over the Beaudesert training area, we join the landing circuit with a couple of other planes and I am enjoying this so much.

How hard can this be?

Easy .. right?


On final approach we cross the airport boundary fence, flaps are set for landing, the engine is just ticking over and I am determined to show my instructor I can land this little plane really smoothly.

And while I am thinking of this grand plan to show off.. nature intervenes.

From out of NOWHERE a bloody sudden gust of wind hits us from the side.. the 152 turns to starboard, the port wing drops and all of a sudden we are all crossed up with me viewing the runway almost out of my side window.

Now at this point I did what every flying student does!

I turned to  the instructor with a look of terror on my face and yelled.. "Fuck!"

He calmly said.. "My aeroplane" and corrected our approach in a heart beat and then said.. "Your aeroplane.. you land us!"

I said.. "No way mate.. it's all yours."

As we taxied in I decided that my learning to fly a light aircraft days are over.

This is scary shit!

Do I fly now? Yes all the time in fact!

But now it's a case of, "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going!"

God or the universe or whatever gave us Boeing for a reason.

I have seen the light all those years ago!

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