If you all read my previous post What Would I Do With R5Million, I mention that I would love to learn to fly. I gave my list of things to do some serious thought and realised that some of these things were possible without having loads of money. So in true Lanthie style, I decided to take up the challenge and try to do some of the things on my list.
I did some research on Saturday, reached out to some friends and then actually called a pilot training centre and made a booking to go on my first test flight. The booking was made for today at 4pm. I suddenly realised yesterday morning that this would conflict with my belly dance class and as we are well into rehearsing for our next show, I could not miss a class and would have to reschedule my flight.
So I called them and my flight was rescheduled for yesterday afternoon at 4pm. They called me mid-afternoon and told me the weather was not being very accommodating and it was recommended that I postpone my flight. So we rescheduled for Sunday at 2pm. I was a little disappointed as I was really looking forward to my first flight.
I was on my way to the office at 7.30 this morning, stuck in traffic when my phone rang. It was my instructor asking if I was free this morning and he could take me up at 11am. So I made a few phone calls and rescheduled my meetings and went for my very first flying lesson.
I must admit I was a little nervous when I arrived. I have been on loads of planes and travelled the world,
but I had never been on a small aircraft before. I walked into the hanger and made my way up the stairs to the reception. I was greeted by a very friendly young man behind the counter. He introduced himself as my instructor.
I had to fill in some paperwork and then we headed downstairs to the plane.
I knew what a Cessna c172 looked like but didn’t realise how small it is. My car is bigger – Okay I admit I drive a big 4×4 but I still expected it to be a lot bigger.
The instructor gave me a set of headphones. He explained some safety checks to me and explained what to do in case of emergency. Landing with the door open / unlatched being one of them – not something I want to envision doing any time soon!
I had to pretend to be a contortionist to get into the plane and finally found myself sitting in the pilot seat. My instructor then explained various dials and switches to me while he went through his safety check.
We then taxied towards the runway and he let me take control. It was a little tricky using my 2 feet to steer rather than my hands on a steering wheel but I quickly got the hang of it. Apparently you only use the stick when flying.
We were parked while he went though various safety checks again and waited for the tower to give us clearance.
Eventually we were given the go ahead and finally I was in the air. It went a lot slower than I thought and I couldn’t believe that we could fly at this speed.
We were up for about 5 minutes when the instructor handed control over to me. WOW! I could not believe I was in control of a plane in less than 5 minutes! This is seriously stuff that dreams are made up of.
Alright, I must admit it is not rocket science stuff and piloting this plan is a whole load easier than driving my car. But still – I WAS FLYING!
We headed out towards the Hartebeestpoort Dam. The instructor was very patient with me and obliged me by answering the gazilion questions I had about the various instruments and what each one did. I could not have wished for a more patient man.
We were up in the air for about an hour and before I knew it, we were landing. I took over control once again when we were on the ground.
I definitely want to get my PPL license (Private Pilot Licence) and will make every effort to get it. The only hurdle here is money to pay for it all. So all donations are welcome – please feel free to leave me a comment if you would like to sponsor me (And Yes, I am being dead serious!)
A friend went up with me and took loads of photographs – hope you like them. There is some amazing scenery.
Hope to be posting loads more pics of my flying in the near future.