On Tuesday morning, I got another chance to go up into the skies. The weather seemed worse today, there was a layer of thin cloud looming overhead as I made my way to the University Main Gates bus stop, but the weather forecast remained adamant that it would clear in a matter of hours. So I put my faith in the forecast.
An hour later I arrived at the airport, and sure enough, the weather was perfect. Not a cloud in sight. The instructors at Forest City gave me a warm welcome and we began chatting away while we signed the necessary logs. No time was wasted though as I was given a short ground school briefing (by Dave) about the vital indicators and instruments in the plane. This isn’t new information to me, but given that I hadn’t flown in three years, I certainly needed a refresher.
Next up were the pre-flight checks – outside and inside. Just to make sure that we have an engine, propeller, seat belts etc., you know, the essentials. We belted up, adjusted our positions, headsets on, and chocks away!
Taking off was my first challenge. “You have control” the instructor said (aside from the rudder), and it was real. It felt like home; my natural environment… The thrill of having control over the acceleration provides enough adrenaline on its own, but that’s pretty similar to driving a car. What makes flying even more thrilling/rewarding is the additional dimension of pitch. A car can move back, forward, left and right; but an aeroplane can also add an element of ‘up’ or ‘down’ to the mix. And boy that makes all the difference… At 55, I pull back on the yoke and the slight, yet familiar, feeling of weightlessness reminds me just how much I’ve missed flying. There is nothing comparable.
Dave joked about how his office has great views, and that certainly came true as we cruised over Western University (take a look below), found a rather nice-looking mansion, flew over the Thames River, down to Port Stanley and along the edge of Lake Erie. The views were incredible. I was often torn between surrendering the controls to my instructor, and taking photos to capture these wonderful moments. Although I may well be biased, I still think that there is no greater hobby than this. Everyone should try flying at least once in their lifetime; and if not now, then when?
That’s all for today, I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking…