First Flight

The first time I flew a plane was on the cold and dreary day of February 2, 2005.  My instructor spent an hour going over the basics of pre-flight inspection and characteristics of the plane.  He instructed me to take the left seat, which at that time, had no particular significance to me, especially so because the plane had dual controls.

I steered the plane down the taxiway with a series of swoops in both directions.  I don’t think he approved of my technique.  At the end of the runway, we had an extended pre-flight ‘run-up,’ with explanations of the purpose of each check and each control. 

“Now,” the instructor said, “taxi the plane into position at the end of the runway.”

Sure, I thought, get it ready so he can show me what to do.

“Both feet on the rudders, right hand on the throttle, and announce your departure.”  The instructor’s voice was slightly strained.  I waited for him to take the controls.

“Advance the throttle and take off.”

Holy mackerel!  He wants me to do this...  I complied and the plane surged forward.  I danced on the rudder pedals and steered a jiggly course down the centerline of the runway.  The plane went faster and faster, the scenery flashing by.  Oh, my!

“Rotate!”  The instructor’s voice was loud in my ears.


“Ease back on the yoke.”

I pulled back on the yoke and the plane’s nose rose, hiding the view of the runway.  I relaxed on the yoke. The plane’s nose dropped.

“Keep the nose up!” The instructor pulled back on the yoke and the plane’s nose rose again, offering a view of the gray sky. 

I glanced to the side and saw the end of the runway disappear. We were about fifty feet above the ground and climbing fast.  Well, it was fast to me.  The plane lurched to one side.

“Keep the wings level!”  The instructor’s voice rose an octave.

I followed his instructions as he guided me to the practice area.  For about a half hour, he talked non-stop, telling me what to do.  This wasn’t how I’d dreamt that flying would be like.  I’d always believed it would be a carefree, effortless way to soar among the clouds.  No cloud flying, I learned quickly, as well as the specific protocols for take offs and landings.  Speaking of landings, the instructor decided he would land the plane after he instructed me into the pattern around the airport. 

Once the instructor took the controls, the plane immediately began to fly smoother, straighter, with fewer wobbles.  Golly, just when we get into smooth air, he has to take over…  Maybe.  After landing, I had the pleasure of tying down the plane and securing it.

Then it hit me.  I had actually flown a plane!  Wow!  At that moment, I began to think that it would be a quick and short period until I got my license. 

Hah!  Little did I know.