Kate got me an introductory flight lesson for my birthday, so today we made the trip down to the Capital City Airport for the day. Anna got to touch the airplane, just like she wanted to, and I got a 2 hour flight lesson. Flying in a small plane is every bit as exhilarating as I remember! Prior to the flight itself, we spent about an hour going over the physics of flight and the the avionics on the Cessna 172. When I used to fly in Tanzania, I would watch David, but didn't know what he was doing or why he was doing it. Now I understand that, for example, adjusting trim takes the pressure off the yoke, allowing the airplane to essentially fly steady without the pilot having to wrestle/fight with it.
After completing pre-flight checks, sitting in the airplane and physically pulling back on the yoke, causing the tires to lift off the tarmac was a pretty sweet experience. Don, the instructor, controlled communication with the tower, and the throttle/fuel mix. I concentrated (INTENSELY) on the yoke and pedals. I held the yoke and pedals for 25 of the 30 minutes that we were up with Don taking over to land (thankfully).
Don spent $60,000 accumulating the flight time to complete his Private Pilot's License, and that was ten years ago. Since we don't have that kind of cash (and PSU Education Abroad isn't looking to hire an on call pilot), I think going for a PPL is out of the question, but MAN what a great way to spend a sunny Saturday in central Pennsylvania.
Thanks Kate, I love you!