Whenever I fly in an airplane, I always enjoy the view and marveled at the technologies used to make an airplane fly.  How these big machines can get airborne is truly amazing. Look at various airplane cockpits with their complicated instrument panels of dials and gauges, an you come to the realization there is a lot of skill and knowledge required to fly a plane.

Flight instructors have to be a pretty brave group of individuals to constantly be willing to train new student pilots how to safely fly aircraft at high rates of speed, thousands of feet above the earth.

Scott Firby

Scott Firby, CFI, MEI, just before takeoff on one of my training flight, saying his prayers.

I started my flight training in May of 2000 after completing the FAA ground school at Skypark Airport during the winter of 1999.  My flight instructor is Scott Firby from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.  Scott has had an interest in airplanes and flying his entire life and he has a very thorough knowledge of aviation.  He has a relaxed way of teaching his students while still emphasizing the potential for the danger flying can have if one becomes careless or complacent.

During my earliest training flights I considered it a success if I could taxi the plane into position without running on the grass.  Once making it to the end of the runway taking off in an airplane when you have the controls is really a lot of fun.  You are accelerating down the runway and when you reach the correct speed you pull back on the controls and the plane lifts off the ground. The pilot has to watch the airspeed and maintain a straight flight path off the runway until the plane can safely depart the airport traffic pattern.

The ride in a small airplane on a nice day is pretty smooth and almost unreal at first.  One may be uncomfortable at first looking out your planes window and seeing how high up you are actually flying, but after a few minutes in the air, you will relax and enjoy the experience.

Scott Firby Thanking God he made it through another flight with Brian

For some reason, every time I land the plane my flight instructor gets out and kisses the ground. I wonder why??

The early flight lessons involve taking your aircraft with your instructor to a safe practice area and doing basic maneuvers that you will need to use each time you fly.  These maneuvers include, turning with varying degrees of bank, while maintaining a set altitude, maintaining certain airspeeds, and practice flying at slow airspeeds.

The worst part of this for me was learning to recover from stalls.  In a plane, you have to maintain a minimum airspeed for the airplane to fly, otherwise it stalls (or stops flying) and starts dropping.  It sounds bad but with proper training you can recover from stalls and continue on your flight without incident.  Most planes have stall warnings and the secret is to listen for the stall warning and take corrective action before you get into a full stall.  Still if the plane does stall a pilot must know what to do, so in practice you put your plane into a stall and have to regain control, and reestablish safe level flight.  At a safe altitude it really isn’t that hard to recover from a stall, but it becomes critical to avoid them on take offs and landings, and that is where many pilots make fatal mistakes.  I didn’t care much for this part of the training because it was like riding a roller coaster without the track and it is an uncomfortable sensation.  Still, it is a part of the training and a critical one at that.