And it continues…

I awoke bright and early for my 8am lesson. I live a bit of a distance away from the airport, so I knew that I needed the extra time to get there and be fully awake. To my surprise, the end of fall is already approaching – my car had frost on it. As I drove to the airport, I wondered how Cessnas are deiced because I couldn’t imagine using a scraper like on a car’s windshield.

Alas, I arrived and saw the planes had frost on the entirety of the surface of the plane. Once my instructor arrived, we spent a good amount of time cleaning off the plane (we used a broom to brush off everything). From my theory courses, I knew that we couldn’t have any ice buildup on the plane for takeoff. My instructor and I maneuvered the plane so it was facing the sun to allow for the ice/frost to melt. While we waited, I did my first preflight exterior checklist.

It took a good while to get everything defrosted/deiced. There was no simple pull up station for deicing like you see with commercial aircraft. After everything was deiced and verified, we continued the checklist inside the plane. i got through everything easily enough, and then we were off. The first thing I noticed was that immediately I felt more at ease with the controls. I navigated the plane to the starting position and waited for my instructor to get clearance. Once that was done, we were off. I moved us onto the runway with more ease than the first time.

When it came time for takeoff, I didn’t feel as overwhelmed as I did the first time. It wasn’t 100% smooth, but pretty close. We took a turn and ascended to 2000′. We went to our training area and we went over all of the different maneuvers we had planned on (inclining right and left, maintaining altitude, descending, ascending). I had a much easier time maintaining altitude. While there was a bunch of chatter on our frequency, I still managed to concentrate and perform the maneuvers that my instructor requested.

One of the biggest challenges was the headset. Today it seemed like it didn’t really want to work, and my instructor was fiddling with the radios a lot it seemed. At one point he simply gave me hand signals to indicate what he wanted from me.

One point of pride was me beginning to use the trim wheel without even being asked (and using it at all – my first flight we didn’t even use it at all). it’s a huge point of pride, and I’m sure experienced pilots mostly forget the feeling of accomplishment of doing it correctly the first time.

Then came time for the landing. It wasn’t great, but we walked away without any bruises or damages to the aircraft. I felt less overwhelmed than the first time, and even had some turbulence on our base leg as we turned for final, and even that I was able to handle without being too stressed. Having read my pilot’s training handbook, there were a few things that I applied (when gliding, any point in relation to a fixed point of the windshield can be used to gauge the point of landing). Once we made our first touchdown with the aircraft, my instructor kept telling me to pull back on the yolk. Because I’m inexperienced, it made no sense to me in that instant – we weren’t trying to take off again! Once a few moments had passed, I realized he was telling me to pull the nose up for landing (we had glided in with the throttle at idle, we weren’t going to take off). He told me it would come with experience (and so far he has been correct). Afterwards I had to ask for confirmation that we hit the ground, and bounced because I failed to pull the nose up (which was the case).

After my lesson today, I can say it with confidence – I had fun flying. There were moments when my hands were sweating and I was gripping the controls too firmly. All that said, it was a good experience and I can’t wait for my next.

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