Rich's Quest For Flight

My father was a pilot. He died doing what he loved to do. It has been a goal of my life to become a pilot. Now I have chance to do so. Follow me as I pursue my dream.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Family Flies!

KRYV 191855Z AUTO 22013G19KT 10SM CLR 23/11 A3001 RMK AO2

I realize this space has become much less active since I earned my certificate, but it's not because I haven't been flying. I've made it a plan to try to fly 2 times per month and a maximum of 4 hours per month. So I've been up about 5 times since my last post. Mostly it's been practice in the Cessna 152, but in April I took a plane up for an overnight to Stevens Point Municipal (KSTE) for a Destination Imagination contest my oldest son was participating in.

But today, after many weeks of cajoling, shaming, and yes, threatening, I finally got the wife into a small plane. But first, I took the boys up. Since I only had a 152 for the day, I could only take one up at a time. That was actually by design, since I don't think anybody is ready to fill all four seats of the Cessna 172. I just had this feeling that there would be too many distractions, and perhaps too much passenger discomfort to take the chance. Of course I can't wait to do just that and having the experience of a Center of Gravity (CG) further aft than I'm used to.

Jason was most eager to go, so he was first. We brought along a couple of shoeboxes for him to sit on during the flight so he could see over the cowl. That, and having an empty stomach today, yielded much better results than the unfortunate events of the first flight. The flight plan was the same for all three and went as follows: climb out Runway 23, turn to the north, over the high school, and then turn back to the south after flying over the homestead of one of Colin's friends. All told, about a 20 minute flight from takeoff to touchdown. Jason was ebullient afterwards, a very positive experience compared to the first time up.

Colin was next. He didn't have any reservations about going up, but he also wasn't real enthusiastic about it, either. That didn't mean he was disinterested, and I think he thought positive of his flight.

Finally, my wife. If I am ever going to take the family out on destination flights, I must get her comfortable with flying in a small plane. She is both afraid of flying, and of small spaces. I started by just having her sit in the plane with the doors open as I explained preflight checks inside the cockpit. I also talked out my flight plan with her, beginning with the ground roll, takeoff, climb out, descent and landing. For instance, I explained that I would release some back pressure on the elevator immediately after leaving the ground so I could build some speed before pitching for my climb angle. That way I hoped that there would be no surprises during the flight.

The flight itself went fine. This was the heaviest I've flown this plane, and you can tell the difference. Longer takeoff roll, slower climb, etc. It would have been best to fly earlier in the day, since by this time the boundary layer/low level turbulence was at its height. So the 20 minute flight proved to be the practical limit this time out. But I was really proud and happy for my wife. I knew this wasn't fun for her, but she did it for me. And these would be the worst conditions I would subject her to, in the smallest airplane possible. So I'm very hopeful that she'll be more willing in the future, in a larger plane, to go along for the ride.

Labels: ,