Monday, April 14, 2008

My New Hobby

"A fatal attraction is holding me fast
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?"

-Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly"

A couple of weeks ago I decided to try to get my pilot's licence.

Last week I got my CAT III medical. My first flight was yesterday. It was a pretty simple flight. The instructor did the take-off, landing, and some attitude demos. I did some climbs, descents, turns, and cruises. The instructor said that next time I would do the take-off and landing.

It has been several years since I was in a small aeroplane. It was good to get back in the saddle again. But I was disappointed by how much I had forgotten. At first, it took me hours to get comfortable talking on the radio. Then I finally got it. Yesterday I saw that I had lost it. I hope it won't take long to get it back again.

I also forgot how to climb and descend. (For the non-pilot's reading this, it's more complicated than "pull-back to climb, and push forward to descend.".)

On the upside, it's a lot less stressful than Sault College. For one thing, I'm learning at my own pace. I take as much, or as little, time as I need. If I mess up I don't have someone biting my head off. But I do miss the Sault College aeroplanes; Zlin 242Ls. They're more roomy than the Cessna 150. They also have more equipment in them. The Zlin had more switches, knobs, dials, etc. It made me feel smarter when I knew what they all did. They were aerobatic aeroplanes, which allowed you to do more with them; turn at steeper angles, endure higher G-forces.

I also miss not having to pay for flying. Flying is expensive!! At Sault College, I just paid tuition like everyone else. At the time I think I paid about a thousand per semester. The provincial government paid the rest (about $35 000 per student). If I flew everyday now, I could drop a thousand in a week. Not to mention the medicals, the books, the head-set, the tests, etc. If you're looking to fly, you could spend $1000 before seeing the inside of an aeroplane.

Oh well. This is not about money. This is about chasing after a dream I've had since I was 5 years old. This is about me engaging in one of the most fun activities I've ever tried. This is about reaching a goal. This is about learning to fly.

For the summer, most of my "free time" will be consumed with flying. So, I'm sure you'll read more about it on my blog. Once I get my camera fixed or replaced, I hope to get pictures, and maybe some video's, up on the blog.

Here is a list of things I need to do to get my licence:
  • Get a valid CAT III medical

  • Register with Rockcliffe Flying Club.

  • Buy study materials

  • Write PSTAR (The written prerequisite for a Student Pilot Permit)

  • Write the Transport Canada written exam

  • Do flying exercises
    • Do Pro-solo exercises

    • Do first solo

    • Do post-solo exercises

    • Do dual cross-country to Cornwall

    • Do dual cross-country to Kingston

    • Do solo cross-country to Kingston

  • Pass Transport Canada flight test


Craig said...

congrats! glad to see you haven't lost your drive.

also glad to see you spelled aeroplane correctly :)

Andrew said...

Yes. I was spelling it "airplane" for a while, but the red squiggly kept showing up until I tried "aeroplane." So I checked it with my dictionary widget (Best. Widget. Ever. At least for a speller like me.) and it said that "aeroplane" was the British (read Canadian) spelling.

I'm going flying again tomorrow. And again on Saturday. Weather permitting. So keep watching the blog for further stories.

Next Monday will not feature a flying story. It will be a McQueen story.

Andrew said...

Incidentally, I haven't lost my drive since I started daily backup's with Leopard's Time Machine.