So yesterday I finally got to use my Christmas present from Betsie: a “Discovery Flight” lesson from Genesis Flight Academy!

First I had around a 30 minute classroom lesson on flight physics, covering the four forces of flight and the three axes of a plane, from my instructor, Chris. He was obviously very passionate about flying and gladly answered any question I presented.

Once the ground lesson was done, we went out to the Cessna 172S and completed the pre-flight checks.

The flight checklists

The checklist document for this plane is a four-page pamphlet with lists on each page. The Discovery Flight really only made use of this first page.

After a stop to fill the fuel tanks (when I took the shot of the dashboard shown below), I taxied to the runway.

The control panel

Steering with your feet is a LOT harder than I expected it to be. There were several times when Chris had to get us back to the middle of the taxiway…

I was very surprised that he let me pilot the take off! Once in the air, I did eventually figure out how to keep it leveled off (for the most part). He stalled the plane twice (on purpose) so I could see what it felt like. Then before I knew it, we were very near my house (though not in altitude, fortunately…).

On the way back, it took me seemingly forever to see the airport. I never really did get my bearings in relation to the landmarks on the ground. I took the plane through the pattern to line up with the airstrip, and Chris landed. I taxied back to the parking lot (again with the occasional correction) and then he parked the plane.

The whole thing was a blast, but I will say it was a lot more stressful than I was anticipating. There is SO MUCH to know and keep track of while flying! Chris made an interesting comment that sometimes piloting isn’t so much knowing what to do, as much as knowing what NOT to do!

The only thing I’m bummed about is that I failed to take a close up picture of the plane I flew! I took this from right beside where I parked the car.

Cessna from the parking lot

When I got home, the kids asked me about the flight. I started talking to Isaac and decided to have some fun.

I asked him if he know the four forces of flight, and he immediately responded with “Thrust, drag, lift, and weight”. He apparently remembered that from the movie “Rio!”. (Really?!?!)

Fine, I thought. “Okay Isaac: how do you turn a plane?”

“With the rudder.”

“How do you turn the rudder?”

“Well, in a helicopter you use the foot pedals.”

I give up. He could’ve skipped my entire ground lesson and gone straight to the flight.

All in all, it was a fantastic Christmas present! I still think I would like to get my pilot’s license. Flying would be a lot less stressful once I felt comfortable with the controls. 🙂

Who knows? Maybe after I finish my Master’s degree.

Or maybe I can just have Isaac teach me…