Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Friday, April 4, 2008

Flight Lesson #1

Tuesday was my first official flight lesson. Oh, look, I’m already behind on my ground school reading *nervous eye twitch*. Granted, the reading was my own fault, since I decided that spending the weekend submerged in the sea of manga, anime, and Japanese culture that is Sakura*Con was a good idea. I regret nothing.

Fortunately, I’m familiar with most of the material in the first couple chapters of my ground school book anyway, so I should get caught up in short order. I’ve got to remember to ask my instructor what kind of information I’m supposed to be reading out of the DA-40 reference manual though. That things as dull as the FAR/AIM book, and laid out less coherently.

But book learnin’ is boring anyway, when compared to actual flying. Tuesday was graced with partially cloudy skies, and while unseasonably cold for early April (seriously, we had snow over the weekend. That DOES. NOT. HAPPEN. In Seattle during the last few days in March), still sufficiently good flying weather for a low VFR lesson. I finally got my checklist cards, and tried to follow along as my instructor demonstrated proper pre-flight and checklist procedures. They seemed simple enough, provided you can remember where everything is.

Then we were off, with me tap-dancing on the toe brakes to get us to the run-up area. Boeing Field didn’t seem terribly busy at the time, with just a couple of corporate jets, a twin, and a couple of other trainers leaving at various times.

Once off, we headed to Galvin’s designated primary practice area for my introduction to basic maneuvers. So far, so, … adequate… I managed to mostly hold altitude correctly while flying straight and level, and manage decent level turns. Turns while climbing and descending, and just descents in general, are going to be trouble until I can really get a good feel for proper power management. We also tried steep (about 45 degree of bank) turns. My first one wasn’t so hot, but on the second one, I did a bit better. That was basically the last maneuver I tried, and I think by that time I was starting to get used to the feedback coming from the instrumentation in my inner ears and gluteus maximus.

I think I was finally starting to get the whole “terrain picture” thing my instructor was talking about too. I still feel a lot more comfortable trusting what my instruments tell me I’m doing, but I think with a few more flights, I’ll start recognizing the visual picture as well. In some ways, comprehending the picture outside feels like learning to read a new language: until you learn the patterns that make up the letters and words, it’s all incoherent gibberish.

Hopefully this weekend I can get my reading caught up, unbury my home flight-sim stuff. If I can get in a couple of sim hours before next Tuesday, I’ll be really interested to see if there’s any kind of noticeable improvements.

Until then,
For those with wings, fly to your dreams.