Today I had my first scheduled day of flight school, which means today officially marks the beginning of what I hope becomes a lifelong journey and career in aviation. I’ve spent the past several months heavily invested in researching all aspects of my decision to pursue a career in aviation. I am a 30 year old career-changer with a plan to one day fly commercially as a captain on a major airline. I feel proud and ambitious about my decision to move forward in this field and I look forward to the experiences and the knowledge I will gain along the way. I am prepared for the work associated and look forward meeting new people and making new friends in a community I already hold in high regard.
I can’t say that I had any specific expectations regarding my first day, or that I had in any way imagined how it would play out. Back in August 2016 I had visited the flight school (one of several), and was lucky enough to spend some very quality time with the owner of the school. He took the time to discuss most of the relevant information about the operation, and answer any questions that I had. He showed me around the facility and genuinely made me feel that this was a place where I would receive quality instruction and be invited into the community with open arms. The time he took on that day in August went a long way in helping me make a decision on where I would do my training.
Last week I called the school’s owner and told him I had made the final decision to start my training there. We had exchanged a call or two a few days prior, helping me answer a few outstanding questions and concerns I had. Based on my plan and my background, he placed me with an instructor who he thinks will be a good fit. We scheduled my first two lessons over the phone 12/5/2016 (today) and 12/9/2016. Over this past weekend I received a call from my flight instructor, calling to introduce himself and discuss my background, plan, and expectations as a new student. He graciously spent an hour on the phone with me ahead of my first lesson today (Monday).
I woke up this morning to a wet and overcast day, gathered some necessary documents, and headed to the airport for my 12PM lesson. My commute to the airport is about 45 minutes, 38 miles. I arrived about a half hour early to make time for preliminary paperwork necessary for new students. I met some of the staff at the school – all of which were pleasant and inviting. As a new student, I had to fill out some forms with my personal information, sign some agreements and liability waivers, and provide my passport, driver’s license, and medical certificate (yes- I got my medical FIRST.. pun intended?!)
Shortly after noon my instructor found me lingering around the school and introduced himself. It helped a lot that we had spoken prior in terms of being able to start a technical discussion related to the airplane and my training rather then talk about the what, why, and how related to my plan to get my ratings. We had a relatively short, 2 hour block booked for today, and had planned on an hour of ground time and an hour airborne. Unfortunately, due to weather – BKN008 – we weren’t able to fly today. Was I discouraged? NO! Although I would have loved to be airborne today – my first official day – I know enough to know that I better get used to these things now.
We had no shortage of things to discuss in place of today. We went over the airport diagram and we went over the interior and exterior pre-flight checklist procedures for the Cessna 172SP on which I will learn to fly. We continued on to do a mock run of the ‘before start’, ‘engine start’, and ‘before taxi’ checklist procedures. Hopefully this Friday we’ll get airborne.
Before I knew it, my two hour block was up and my first official lesson was done. A few days off and I’ll be back on Friday for my second day. Getting worked into the schedule is a bit of a learning curve and hopefully by next week I will be able to pick up significantly more time, as I am able to make a ‘full time’ commitment to my flight training at this point. My first impressions of both the school, the personnel, and the process are positive. I’m looking forward to Friday in anticipation – more to report then.