Many of you have been following my blog for some time now and understand how much I love motorcycling. However, this past year and a half motorcycling has taken a bit of a backseat. I have been learning to fly and it has been a life-changing experience. Let me explain.
The art of learning to fly is like a child learning the basic fundamentals of how to do things on your own and how to be a good human being. Flying teaches us how to be aware of our surroundings, what the difference is between good and bad decision making, how to manage risk, how to plan and prepare, how to understand your overall health and well being, and most of all how to have fun. On top of that, flying has made me a meteorologist minus the degree to prove it. However, I was lucky enough to be accepted in the Skywarn program under the National Weather Service umbrella. Meaning, I have a certificate to prove it!
Back in March, the wind and weather were calm. It was a cool and perfect spring morning. My instructor surprised me with, "I'm hoping to solo you today". I felt like someone punched me in my stomach. Riding a motorcycle was one thing, but flying a plane all by myself just made me nervous thinking about it. At least if I drop a motorcycle, the ground is right there and believe me I've done it a bunch of times. Especially when I first started learning how to ride. Now I had to fly an airplane alone! My instructor went up with me a couple times and then finally said, "drop me off, it's your turn".
As I taxied off the runway to drop him off, I begin sweating like a running back who just ran 90 yards. I shut down the engine, he hops out. I take my jacket off because the heat was just building up. I go through my checklist to start the plane up again. I taxi over to do my engine runup and checks.
Then I radio to ground control for a taxi clearance:
Me: "Binghamton Ground Sportstar N29EV"
ATC: "Binghamton Ground, go ahead Sportstar N29EV"
Me: "I'm on the west ramp requesting to stay in the pattern I'm ready to taxi with information Bravo" ATC: "Sportstar N29EV, proceed to runway 10 via Lima Kilo"
Me: runway 10 via lima kilo 29EV
|Taxing to runway 10.|
|Hold Short line at runway 10|
When I get to the hold short line at runway 10
Me: "Binghamton Tower Sportstar 29EV is ready for take-off runway 10"
ATC: "Sportstar 29EV cleared for take-off runway 10, winds blah blah, cleared for right traffic"
Me: "Cleared for take-off runway 10 right traffic"
|My take-off solo flight in an Evektor Sportstar Max, LSA.|
|Taxing back to the west ramp after a successful solo flight of 3 take-offs and 3 landings.|
Just like that, I had flown a plane all by myself. By the time I had my third take-off and landing, I was confident in my skill to fly the aircraft. I was still sweating, but I believed in myself. I was thinking the whole time "Wow, I just flew an airplane". It was scary, it was fun and it was hard. There was nothing easy about it. Out of my three solo landings, the second one was the best landing to date. I wish that wasn't so, but you only get good at something by doing it often and learning from mistakes. I guess flying has also taught me to never give up. It's a new passion that I have found, that I have felt empty without.
You can follow my progress and flying adventures on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mytube24ever
Well, folks, I would love to write some more, but I have a flight lesson in an hour.