Flight Lesson 1

Attitudes and Movements + Taxiing and miscellaneous tidbits

After a first, introductory flight at the end of May (which you can read about here) I finally had the right weather for my first actual flight lesson. The wind was calm, temperature around 24 degrees Celsius and clouds were nowhere in sight for the most part and I could not wait to get behind the control column. Before that could happen though, a ground briefing was necessary.

The Ground Briefing

My instructor Bob and I spent some time in the classroom before heading out to the plane. In this hour and a half we reviewed the basic principles of flight (how the wings create lift, etc.). Also what the different attitudes the airplane can be in are (nose up, cruise, nose down) and how the stabilator (or in the case of other planes, the elevator) influences them.

Other things covered included: the use of the rudder for yaw, proper taxiing procedures in wind, using the natural horizon for level flight, how each of the control surfaces affect the pitch, roll and yaw of the plane, etc. This was all a review of material from ground school, however since I was going to get to practice it right after the lesson it seemed so strange and new that I was happy we covered it all.

Once we were finished in the classroom, Bob handed me a list of checklists I will be using from now on. It came in this neat little Peninsulair-branded spiral notebook with a CYHM airport diagram printed on the back.

The Flight

Before I even got into the plane, I completed a full walk around of the Piper. Today’s plane du jour was C-GQEQ, shown below.

The walk around consists of a few steps such as:

  • checking the fuel level and quality in each tank
  • checking the range of motion of the control surfaces
  • checking the the brakes and landing gears
  • visually inspecting the fuselage

After this I climbed in the cockpit and pulled out the checklist pad for the pre-engine start up checklist. As the engine fired up, so did my excitement. I was looking forward to leaving the ground, but first there were a few more checks to run.

We received clearance to the active runway which was 06, so we proceeded to the apron where Bob walked me through the run up. Taking off was quick and painless: full throttle, rotate at 55 kts.

We headed northeast for a bit then turned to heading 210 and went over the Toronto Motorsports Park (which is actually in Cayuga, not very near Toronto). There were a few cars going through the circuit so we went lower to get a better look. We then turned towards Lake Erie and went into the training area for me to practice staying level and maintaining altitude by just looking outside the airplane.

Bob also demonstrated some things which will be covered in future lessons such as turning, climbs and descents along with entering a spin. I returned the plane to cruise attitude and we headed back to the airport. All in all my flight path looked something like:

Lesson 1 flight path

(The training area may not be exact so don’t take this as written in stone)

The flight was over very quickly, too quickly. I don’t think I will ever get enough of being in the air and I cannot wait until Tuesday when my next lesson is scheduled for, weather permitting.

I am hoping to be able to fly 2 or 3 times per week, more if possible, and this should allow me to get my license before the end of the year. Before that though, I am 0.9 hours closer to soloing!