Charlie Alpha Charlie

23 November, 2011

It is very important to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse. So, just in case I am unable to escape the zombie hordes by car, motorbike, sailboat, windsurfer or snowboard, I have taken a flying lesson.

My flying experience to date consisted of playing flight sims on the Amiga and complaining about Ryanair. No problem: the instructor and I clambered into a cute little yellow Grob, and after a long and involved safety dance (lyrics sheet supplied) he took off:

Then up at about a thousand feet he handed over the controls for half-an-hour’s instruction in climbing, descending, two different ways to turn, and getting the plane to stay level when you let go (that is to say, pitching, rolling, yawing and trimming). That flight sim experience actually came in quite handy for this. (The flight sim also taught me that it is a bad idea to land on the sea because, although your aeroplane will float nicely, you will be unable to take off again without resetting your Amiga. However, I did not put this to the test.)

Lesson 1 is all about “the picture”, or the view out of the windscreen and the position of the aircraft’s nose in relation to the horizon. This is not straightforward in Ireland, where the horizon will generally be covered by a bank of cloud, but not to worry, you just use the clouds instead.

Heading: two and a half clouds. Altitude: below clouds.

"Ok, you need to be at thirty degrees to that line of cloud."

The German-built Grob is reassuringly responsive. I particularly liked the way it wanted to go up when you increased the throttle; heavier-than-air flight doesn’t actually feel heavy at all. Aerofoils are awesome.

I also learned the correct pronunciation of “altimeter”. It is not what I thought it was.

Please note that I did actually fly it, but with the canopy *closed* and looking where I was going.

Pretending to fly a plane.

Cheesy photography is included in the ticket price.

My other plane is an SR-71 Blackbird.

We got the tickets through LivingSocial. I feel a bit bad about this, having subsequently discovered that these daily deals companies are often bad news for the businesses they lure in. So, since I am but a poor grad student and not remotely likely to be going back for a PPL any time soon, I guess all I can do is say: go to Flightwise and have a go at flying, it’s lots of fun šŸ˜€



  1. Flying is fun šŸ™‚ When I have the money, I shall resume my PPL.

    Like the look of those training planes mind, much nicer than the battered Cessna I learned in at East Midlands.

  2. Well done!

    At least you had a canopy to close – no such namby-pamby luxuries in the last plane I flew. http://www.flickr.com/photos/34352063@N05/3897082769/

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