I don’t mind waking up early on my day off if it includes 30-degree bank turns.
Yes, my friends (and lurkers), yours truly was at the helm of that red n’ white Cessna buzzing all over Baker County this morning.
My instructor and I spent a good 90-minutes on bookwork and ground instruction, then another HOUR going over each and every part of the ship. After buckling in and taxiing down the runway, he informed me that he was going to allow me to do the takeoff by myself. In fact, he was just there for moral support. HAH! Right.
Before I rip on my instructor (Mike), you should know that he’s awesome. As in, I really like the guy.
I didn’t really like him, however, when he dipped into a 30-degree bank turn at 4,000 feet without warning me. It was right when I was feeling steady at the helm with my nose all trimmed steady and Baker City lookin’ all tiny and perfect below me. He then convinced me to do spirals like that for another five minutes. Round and round and round.
And I really didn’t like him when I announced that I was going to perform this said 30-degree bank turn that I had just been taught so that I could avoid an ominous-looking gray cloud up ahead. He, instead, took the yoke and aimed right for it.
“Conquer your fear,” he said. “Trust me. I won’t let you hurt me.”
ARGH! Gray cloud alert! Gray cloud alert! He laughed and told me to relax as he reached for a Silence-Of-The-Lambs-looking mask/visor and announced that soon he’d make me fly “blind” with just my instruments.
I smiled and nodded, and prayed for a quick landing.
Seriously, though, Mike was really awesome. He made me release the yoke at times, telling me that my thumbs were turning white with the pressure, and to just
Take a breath.
Enjoy the scenery.
It was remarkable. I flew around Baker for awhile, then followed the Powder River up into the Keating Valley and towards Richland. All at once I was lost, and told him so. He said that was common, and eventually I’d have to learn my bearings on how to reach my own local airport. He pointed out the Oregon Interpretive Center and I aimed for it, knowing that home was just over that hill. Did you know that you can see the ruts in the Oregon Trail from 7,000 feet? I would’ve taken a photo, except that my hands were a bit busy clenching the yoke and pushing all of the blood into my brain.
Landing was smooth. I was nervous, only because we descended fairly quickly, and dropped from 100-mph to 65-mph in mere moments. It made the plane seem as if it were floating and not flying. We gracefully dropped the back landing gear on the tarmac, then tilted the nose down in front.
Mike allowed me to steer our way back to the hangar, and when we parked and set the brakes I gave him a high-five out of habit. He laughed and said that he knows that I’m going to do alright with this whole flying thing.
I’ve signed up for at least once a week now, but have decided to play with our work schedule to allow me to get out there at least twice, if not three times a week.
I can’t describe the high I felt while driving home. Perma-grin, head bobbin’ without music, and a euphoria that I cannot explain.
Forget drugs, kids… spend your dope money on flying lessons and get a real rush. 🙂