12 Dec Learning to Fly
I always wanted to face my fear of flying in a small airplane, but I never dreamt I would have the opportunity to actually fly one myself. A friend and I purchased a Groupon for a discovery flight lesson, where one person would get to take part in the lesson and the other would go along for the ride. She was only interested in going for a ride, so I decided why not try my hand at being a co-pilot to see if I could get over my fear. I don’t know what it is about small planes that scared me because it’s definitely not a heights issue, and I am not scared of flying on a commercial airplane. Whatever the reason, the moment we stepped foot on the tarmac and started walking to the very small plane, I started to wonder if I was sane for doing this. To be honest, even though I knew I was about to have a great time, I wouldn’t have minded if we would have had to postpone due to the inclement weather that was heading our way. But, nope.
After settling in the co-pilot seat, the instructor started explaining the control panels and the basics of flying the plane, and my one hour discovery flight lesson began. Before I knew it, the propellers were turning and we were taxing along the runway, when all of a sudden the instructor told me to pull back slightly on the handle. As I pulled back on the handle and the plane started to lift off the ground, my fear was suddenly gone. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I had some control of the plane myself or not, but I actually started to enjoy the ride.
We started out traveling east, towards the ocean, and suddenly the sky started looking a little gloomy. Then, right when we got to the ocean, it started raining. The thought of this would normally have me shaking in my boots, but I did surprisingly well. I was steering the plane, keeping us level and even had the chance to take some breaks for [terrible quality] photos. The rain cleared up quickly, and before I knew it, we were already back in partly sunny skies. Flying in almost a large square, we went north along the coast from Pompano Beach, up to Delray Beach, then west to the border of the Everglades before heading back south to Pompano Beach where we started. It was fun to get a bird’s eye view of the areas where we spend so much time.
Heading into a little weather — I think he said this was an updraft
The hour lesson was soon over, and before I knew it, we were back on the ground. Thankfully, everything went smoothly and we landed just as some pretty dark clouds came in.
The instructor at, Lean to Fly Center in Pompano Beach, was very nice, and I was impressed that he took the time to teach me a little about the basics, even though he knew I was not going to be pursuing my pilot license. I felt very comfortable and safe with him and would go back again if I ever decided I wanted to take another lesson.
We had a great morning and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, especially since I was able to conquer a fear! Next up on my list of fears to face is riding in a helicopter, which I will be doing in a couple of weeks. Did I mention I am much more scared of helicopters than small planes?? Wish me luck!