Friday, June 27, 2008

This is going to be tough to top.....

or even come close.

The Love of My Life has this habit of coming up with really cool gifts. A couple of years ago at Christmas she gave me a GPS Navigation unit for the car. This year for my birthday she gave me an hour of flight time in this cool little aircraft.

The thing amounted to an introductory lesson in flight training. The company that rents these wants about $140 an hour fuel included for the use of the plane. It has full avionics, not the gages and analog things I was expecting. Two LCD screens with all the read outs, and a killer GPS with inputs from local ATC for radar targets in your area. We could actually see the other aircraft in the area on our GPS.


The instructor did the taxi to the run up for take off, and when we had permission to use the runway, he told me to take it. He did the rudder and kept us heading in the right direction, at
65 knots I eased back on the stick, and we climbed out at a very comfortable rate. We were at 800 ft. almost immediately. The air smoothed out at about 2000ft and at 2500ft it was a great day. I have held the controls of a small air craft on take off once before, but this was the first time anyone told me " take us anywhere you want, it's your time."

The flight was basically a large circle of the area, you can't really get any where in an hour. The air speed was 103 to 120 mph, so flying some where for lunch was out of the question. The fun thing was I had the controls and the plane is so easy to fly. The avionics included an artificial horizon that lets you fine tune the planes attitude. It is so stable that aileron turns are all you have to do. Rudder turns are an adventure for the future.

The instructor asked me several times if I had flight experience.

I bet they say that to all the boys.

I had to tell him no, but I have had my hands on a lot of controls and know that quick changes are, most of the time, a bad thing.

At the end he had to take the controls because of traffic in the pattern, and we had to land fairly fast, a Lear was coming up behind us. I will give credit where due, it was the best landing I have ever experienced in any air craft, I didn't even feel the wheels touch the ground.

Now if I only had $8000 dollars with nothing to do, I could get a licence that I can't afford to use.

1 comment:

Hammer said...

What a cool experience!

I hear that ultralite aircraft are a little cheaper to operate and don't require a license. Not sure about the saftey numbers though..