First Lesson!

Today I had my first lesson. But before anyone gets too excited, I did not make it off the ground (waaa!). The lesson was from 8-10am and visibility was below or barely at VFR for the first hour due to haze. By the time we got started with the preflight check and some getting acquainted with the airplane, there wasn’t enough time to get in the air.

I did, however, sit myself down in the pilot’s seat (the left seat) and taxi around the airport a bit to get a feel for how the plane handles on the ground. Ground steering in the Cessna 152 (and most other small aircraft) is done by the use of the rudder pedals and some braking. The left and right main gear each have a disc brake that can be used independently by the left and right rudder pedals to help with sharp turns.

Back to the beginning… I met with my instructor, Gene Weaver, who is a former school teacher in his 70’s that has been flying most of his life and instructing a good bit of it as well. He has logged more than 8000 hours of flight time, none of it in a commercial capacity (other than instruction).

We started off with the weather. It’s becoming apparent that weather is a huge deal and must be carefully considered before a flight. There are a number of different computer tools and telephone numbers to use for getting up to the minute aviation weather information. Visibility, wind speed and direction, clouds, temperature, precipitation, air density, and general conditions are among the considerations for flight. The FAA spells out the minimum required conditions for VFR flight, but the club has its own minimums and pilots are encouraged to set even higher minimums according to their own comfort levels and experience.

We spent most of the first hour and a half on weather and a few general things, after which we signed the plane out and went to do a preflight check. Since he wanted to get going, he did the check without explaining much, but it consisted primarily of checking the fuel, oil, required documentation, brakes, nuts, bolts, and general structural integrity. We’ll go over it in great detail another time.

After the preflight check, we got in. My first thoughts were “Wow! This is small.” I’ve never seen a car this small. The two seats are no bigger than fold-up chairs and there is no space between them and the two doors. There is a small luggage area behind the seats; it’s no bigger than a small car trunk. I got semi-acclimated to the controls as we did a prestart check; this on, that off, this works, we’re good to go.

After a quick “CLEAR PROP” yelled out the window, we started the engine and let it warm up for a minute. We put on our headsets so we could both plug our ears from the loud engine and talk to each other through the sound system. Gene took us to an area away from parked airplanes and we drove around in circles so I could practice ground control. After about 10 minutes of that, it was time to pack up. Since he had a student right after me with the same plane, we didn’t spend any time on the post-flight check.

I’m schedule next Tuesday morning and the following Saturday morning, weather permitting as always.

Aimee will get some pictures eventually, but none for now… sorry.