First flight

After decades of dreaming of flying, I scheduled and experienced a ‘discovery flight’.

September 15, 2023

Finally crossed this one off my bucket list.

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return
- Leonardo da Vinci (?)

I kind of doubt Leonardo da Vinci actually ever said this, but this is how I feel, now having tasted flight on my own (well, with a CFI).

Flew a Cessna 172M with classic 6-pack gauges. Just 0.9 logged hours, a bit windy the day before the hurricane was bearing down on the Northeast. Departure was to the Northwest and didn’t get to take off, but did get to do some shallow and steeper (~40 degree) turns, ascents and descents. On return to Hanscom KBED, joined a left downwind, nice long turn to base, and lined up on the approach back to runway 5, before the CFI took over and put her down. Did a post-landing radio call for services. Thanks to lots of online flying on VATSIM, was able to pull that off pretty smoothly.

Signature, Skyhawk 488 bravo alpha student pilot, at the west ramp, request fuel top-off

The experience was very cool. Compared to my home flight simulator (setup: Honeycomb Alpha yoke and Bravo throttle quadrant, 20 year-old CH Products rudder pedals, X Plane 12 with the well-regarded high fidelity Airfoillabs C172 with G1000), I was very surprised at how stiff the rudder pedals were. Yoke control input and trimming is MUCH easier in real life, because you can feel the forces you need to neutralize. I’m not very tall, and rudder pedal inputs were a stretch even fully forward, and forward visibility was more restricted than I thought it’d be (maybe use a booster seat?). Definitely need to work on “feeling” coordinated turns.

I wonder if I’ll pursue a private pilot’s license.

Somehow, the flight simulator at home just isn’t quite as exciting any more.