Goodyear Arizona & First Flight (AP1)

Amazing sunsets are common here, almost every night.

As is usually the case, I haven’t updated in months.  I now find myself in Arizona at the beginning of my foundation flight training.  My first flight was this afternoon and I have one scheduled for tomorrow, Friday and will probably fly Saturday too.

Before I get into the flight, let me talk a little about the end of ground school.  The thing that I really really didn’t want to happen happened.  I landed myself with another re-sit.  I thought I had had my fair share of re-sits but that was not the case.  This time round I failed Aircraft Performance.  It is a very similar exam to Principles of Flight incidentally – it even has the same number of questions.  I did what I did the first time round and focussed on the bigger, ‘more important’ subjects and forgot about the not so big one.  I was very pleased with my results for those, I thought General Navigation or Flight Planning would be one I would mess up but not so.  No subject is more important than another really, you need to pass them all before you can get your licence (or start your training in AZ should you be studying with OAA).

I took the re-sit in December and passed this time.  It would have been a lot cheaper and a lot more convenient to pass the first time round but having to re-take the paper has also had some benefits.  The greatest of said benefits being that I was able to spend Christmas and New Year with my girlfriend and her family.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable time.  Another of the benefits I had was being able to slow down for a few weeks, I actually had some time off.  The rest of my group didn’t have much time before they were put to work once more.

Another sunset picture taken from the same place I took the previous one while I was eating the delicious fish I had cooked on the BBQ moments earlier.

Enough of the re-sit.  It’s in the past now.  I arrived in Phoenix ahead of the group I was to be flying with and so met my good friends from AP313 who then drove me over to Goodyear.  To say it was good to see everyone was an understatement.  The next few days were ground school and tours/familiarisation of the centre and local procedures etc.  We covered a lot of things such as safety, course vehicles, a briefing from the local police on traffic, airspace, charts, flight pro (scheduling software), pre-flight checks, air law, mass and balance, performance and flight controls.  I was glad when it was over though, I’ve had enough ground school to last me a lifetime but I know for sure this won’t be the last time I have to be there.

This is what I flew today; the Piper Warrior.  Sorry about the poor picture, I had already left the parking area and didn’t want to go back to my room to get my high visibility jacket so this’ll have to do for now. I’ll get some proper pictures later.

My first flight in the Warrior was so much fun.  It was fairly short (50 mins including taxi) but it was still enough to get a first look at the training area and have a quick go with the controls.  My instructor is excellent, he explains things very clearly and is also a lot of fun.  He knows the aircraft very well, he showed us some steep climbs and turns and his landing was superb.  The air was pretty smooth for the most part but was a little bumpy towards the end when we passed by the mountains.  I was even feeling a little nauseous at the very end and I thought I had a strong stomach.  fortunately it didn’t develop into anything too crazy but my instructor has some tricks up his sleeve if any of us feel ill so I’m not worried.  If worst comes to the worst he has some barf bags too but I’m not about to let my 14+yr record fall into a paper bag three thousand feet in the air.  On that note, that’ll do for now!  Flying is fun!

One thought on “Goodyear Arizona & First Flight (AP1)

  1. Matt, that sounds like a pretty amazing day for someone who wants to be a pilot! Sounds like you had pretty great holiday as well. I love the line about the barf bags. I have been on like 20 flights in the last year and I don’t even listen to the safety briefing anymore. I just take my xanax, put my IPod earphones in and zone out. I hate flying. Now this may seem funny to you but it just recently occurred to me that the pilots want to keep the plane in the air as much as the passengers want them to keep it in the air…silly, I know, but true.

    If you find yourself on the north east part of the U.S. give us a call. We would be delighted to let you hang out here. Your family was so gracious to us when we visited that I would love to repay the favor! Bring Ed as well.

    Happy Flying!

    Tracey (Rik and Leah’s American friends)

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