Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ticket To Ride III


Part III: Don’t get cocky, kid—You’ve soloed. Time to prep for The Ride!


We pile into the plane on a blustery afternoon with 18-knot gusts, practice some crosswind landings, which 860LS handles with ease, and off we go.

Turning east, Lampson reminds me of my first flight in the CTLS: “It was about this rough, remember?”

“Naw,” I reply, dialing in Windham on the Garmin 496. “Really?”

“Yep. But look how much more relaxed you are.”

I grin and flex my bicep.

In his best Han Solo voice, he says, “Don’t get cocky, kid.”

Indeed, as we fly on to knock off touch-and-goes at Windham, I think of that first turbulent flight, which seems like a long time ago. I remember fighting the airplane. Now, I truly feel at home flying it.

Having the right instructor is a huge boon to a great training experience. And if he’s a punster, all the better. En route, I spot an airplane crossing our path.

“There goes an Extra,” I say.

“Really?” he quips, “I only see one.”

Every flight student should be so lucky to learn from an instructor like John Lampson.

After the out-and-return to Windham, he turns me loose on my second supervised solo. Back I go to Windham, excited, a little nervous, reveling in my new freedom.

As I approach Windham, four other aircraft announce their intentions to also land at Windham, all at once! A big twin is even practicing emergency descents from 2,000 feet. Nothing like a dose of the real world on your first sojourn from the nest.



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