I’ve been curious about flying for a long time. When I was in middle school, I talked my parents into purchasing a remote-controlled airplane for me, which was awesome, until I crashed it and ripped a hole in the skin on the wing. Last year, I flew on a small plane with Cape Air, an airline that flies small planes (8-10 people) to remote parts of New England, like Erin’s Family’s river house on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York.
Then, last August, my brother and my father visited a flight school in Florida to investigate flight lessons. It sounded fun, so I visited East Coast Aero Club for a discovery flight about a week later.
Since last September, I’ve been taking flying lessons with ECAC at Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA. I started slowly going about two times a month, but since the start of 2015, I’ve started taking a “shotgun” approach to throwing my name on the schedule. All the snow and weather in February delayed lessons many times, and the thirty-foot tall snow piles on the sides of the airport made taxiing an interesting experience when I did get to the airport.
However, my persistence and practice have paid off. Today, with calm winds, my instructor started the lesson by having me go up into the traffic pattern around Hanscom and practice a few landings. After a few touch and goes, he asked me if I would feel comfortable doing a few take-offs and landings in these conditions by myself. Then, he called the Tower and requested a full-stop landing.
I taxied to the ramp and dropped him off, taxied back to Runway 29, and took off with only myself in the plane. On takeoff, I learned a lesson I hadn’t thought I would learn - how to take evasive action when there’s a goose at 600ft off the end of the runway. I banked right to avoid the goose, and made my way around the pattern for a touch-and-go. The first landing was good, although off-center; I’m still working on that.
The second lap, I climbed up without fowl play. On the downwind, Hanscom Tower had me turn early to fit in a faster airplane, so the second landing ended up being high on the glidepath, but it was a more centered landing.
I came to a stop after landing the second time, and taxied back to the west ramp, excited with myself for finally getting a chance to solo in an airplane, and not crashing it on my first solo flight!