I sat in the pilot’s seat, and was allowed to fly for upwards of an hour. I am thoroughly and utterly hooked now.
Whitey surprised me on Monday morning by saying that we had to get up early; he had made plans for us. He put me in the truck and drove me ten minutes away from home:
We met Troy, the owner of Baker Aircraft (and a regular customer of Paizano’s) who immediately took us to the hanger to go through the initial inspection of the aircraft.
After pulling the ship onto the pavement, he instructed me to sit in the main chair alongside of him. Whitey was offered to go along with us, and although he seemed apprehensive, he finally agreed to sit in the back seat.
We went through the instrument panels, and Troy explained the important main controls. He had me fire up the engine, and steer the plane onto the runway. You steer with your feet, not your hands, so that took some getting used to.
We revved up the throttle, and he then explained how the ship would takeoff. Minutes later, we were airborne!
Pulling up on the yoke, aiming for the blue sky, it was a feeling I’ll never forget. I think I… no, I definitely yelled out loud — it was so exhilarating!
It seemed like just moments later, we were circling above the small airport, and Troy had me aim for town.
My legs were in knots, tensed up on the pedals, and my left hand was glued to the yoke. I was completely spellbound.
I was feeling pretty confident. The ride was pretty smooth except for a bit of turbulence going over North Powder near the windmills, which scared the Betelgeuse out of me.
We did a fly-by of Paizano’s (can you find it?) and flew around the entire city.
Finally, we headed back to the airport for landing.
Troy had me previously had me practice a “mock landing” at about 5000-feet, where we slowed waaaaaaaaay down in mid-air, pulled up on the yoke, and pretended to land the back tires before lowering the nose of the plane and the front tire….
This was a little different, and I gratefully accepted his help landing. Whitey said later that the landing wasn’t that smooth, but I remember it as being perfect. We lived, right? Perfect.
This was, by far, the coolest thing that I’ve ever done. Whitey ended up buying me the text books to study for my private pilot’s license, and now, every spare moment I have I’m nose-deep studying.
I can’t wait to go up again. Up, Up and AWAY!!!!