I didn’t want to base my ‘love’ of flying on the enjoyment I got from Flight Simulator and a few commercial flights alone. My love of flying was just developing at this point. Thanks to networking, I was able to secure my work experience placements (while I was still in school) with two different local airfields. My first week was spent at the York Gliding Centre. During this time I was able to go up in a glider and a Cessna. Apologies for the poor picture quality, they were taken on a basic digital camera six years ago.
While I was at the flying club I was just working away on something, I can’t remember what but someone came looking for me and said they were going to take the Cessna up. They asked what to me was a rhetorical question: Do you want to go up? Of course I do! So up we went. It wasn’t a long flight but it was fun all the same. I flew a circuit of the airfield which was so much fun – we were quite low too so you got a real feel for the speed.
As some other time during the week I was invited to go up in a glider. Of course, I accepted. I will admit to being a little concerned when I was handed a parachute. Fortunately there was absolutely no need to use it. The day we went up was incredibly grey so there weren’t any thermals to stay up on. There was enough time to enjoy the view, get a feel for flying the glider and have my trusty qualified co-pilot land back at the airfield. I’m sure if it was left up to me we wouldn’t have made it back. What do I know about thermals?
These two flying experiences just made me want to fly more – a good sign. My second week of work experience was at Sherburn Aero Club – another fun week. I got a glimpse into flight training as I was able to sit in on a lesson practicing crosswind landings. Fortunately the student was very good so it wasn’t too rough! At one point in the lesson I was just enjoying the view, the feeling of the flight and snapping away on my camera minding my own business and the instructor came over the headset saying: “You’re feeling okay aren’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m doing great thanks.”
“Okay, just thought I’d check, most people go quiet when they are just about to barf.”
I laughed at that! I have a strong stomach and the flight really wasn’t that rough.
For a while, that was all the flying I did. I didn’t have the means to obtain a PPL and not much later, I learned about the ab-initio training courses that were designed to allow someone without a PPL to commence flight training.