Last Saturday I had my first introductory flying lesson with Sky Trace flying school, based in Weston Aerodrome in west Dublin. The weather was lovely, with little wind and only the occaisonal cloud to spoil the sunny morning.
Since it was to be the first flight of the day, my instructor Augustin showed me all the checks that have to be done on the Robin 2160 (EI-SKV). Once we had checked the control surfaces, warning lights, oil level, etc., we climbed in and I got familiar with the cockpit. We went through the pre-flight checks, then taxied over to a spot where we performed some engine tests. Once we were happy with the engine’s performance, we taxied to the end of the runway and requested clearance for takeoff, which was given straight away. Augustin pushed in the throttle, and very quickly we were up into the air.
Once airborne, we climbed to 1500 feet and headed in the direction of Maynooth. Once there, we climbed to 2000 feet and aimed for Enfield. On the way there, Augustin let me take control and get used to the feel of the small adjustments needed to keep the plane flying level and in a straight line. Once over Enfield, he showed me how to do a banked turn, which I then performed, going anti-clockwise first, then clockwise. We then turned around and headed back to Maynooth, stil with me at the controls.
Once at Maynooth, Augustin took control once more and brought us down to 1500 feet in anticipation of our landing back at Weston. We flew over the airfield, perpendicular to the runway, then turned left and came around for the landing. I was a little nervous of the landing, having only experienced landing in larger jet aircraft. However, the low weight of the plane and Augustin’s deft handling both contributed to a very soft landing, much to my relief!
It was only a half-hour flight, but I had confirmed that I wasn’t terrified stiff, and that I really enjoyed it. I signed up for my next lesson there and then, and I am planning to get my Private Pilots Licence. For that I will need 45 hours flying time, and will need to pass several exams on topics such as navigation and meteorology. It will probably take me over 2 years to get there, but I’m looking forward to the trip