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There I was...ready for my 11:00am $50.00 plane ride at the Portage County Airport.  I saw the advertisement the day before and made my appointment.  I thought, should be pretty cool, check out some of the local scenery, bring my camera, etc.  So I sign in and talk with the pilots for a short while as they're prepping for the next flight (they're running alittle behind), then I relax in the truck and start reading the paper.  One of the pilots takes up the earlier passengers and I'm just relaxing.

Up to truck, the other pilot asks me 'so, do you wanna fly the plane?'.  

SuperDave replies - 'ah, yea'

He asked me if I had any ambitions of becoming a licensed pilot and I replied - 'ah, yea'

Apparently there were no other bookings for my time slot nor the next.  This guy explains that they have a 'Be A Pilot Program' where for the same cost of the trip, I can actually take instruction, fly the plane and setup my first log book and use the hours for certification.

So after signing more stuff and thanking him for the opportunity, I go back to the truck to wait for the previous flight to come back.  Yea, like I'm going to finish reading the paper.  My mind is trying to comprehend what I just signed for and how cool this might be.  Then I'm thinking, with my luck someone is going to show up at the last second and blow this for me. Damn, it's taking forever for that previous flight to get back (butterflies are now taking over my stomach).

Can they be serious?

So the flight returns, passengers all head out, and I show my log book to the pilot and he says 'oh, OK, the Be A Pilot Program'.  We then begin a lenghty pre-inspection and instruction routine.  Brain is now in full sponge mode!

I know, long story so I'll try to wrap it up.  Single engine (4 cylinder - 150hp engine), 4 passenger plane.  I'm sitting in the Pilot's seat and he is in the Co-Pilot seat with identical controls.  Engine now warm, I start to taxi the runway.  Kinda weird to steer this plane, over-compensating back and forth, finally started getting the hang of it.  There we were, all set up for takeoff.  As the pilot got permission, he informed me that he would operate the throttle and I had the rest.  As we started down the runway gaining more and more speed, I pulled on the yoke, and was instructed 'pull it back some more, more, more..now start leveling it out at 1000ft.  NOOOOO WAAAAYYYY, this was soo cool.  Flew over my house and local spots, praticed my left and right banking and yaw? control.  Flew for about 40 minutes (real casual - nothing crazy).  The pilot landed the plane, which was perfectly fine by me.  I had a blast!!!!  Just wanted to share.

I never win anything, but this was so lucky and unexpected.

Hmmm, pilot certification next?  
 

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ConqSoft : I would hate to know that my ass, instead of only my wallet, relied on my performance.  
That would create many BIG disappointments for sure!

Dave-

Congrats on your flight time. Im a bit envious, but happy for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, yea flight certification is said to be around $5000 - $6000. Fuel and airtime is very expensive.

I didn't even look down and out of my window for the first couple of minutes. I was fixated on my artificial horizon indicator, altitude, nose angle, etc. When I did look out it kinda all sunk in, ooohhh shhhhhhh$$$$ttttt!!!!!

I took pictures of my house, and had the pilot take one of me at the controls.

I kept pretty good control of my emotions, you know, acting all cool and calm and stuff. Little did he know!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
ConqSoft : No loops or barrel rolls?
LOL!! Seriously at first I was like no! I was content just keeping her in the air, then after awhile I was like, hmmmm, how far over will he let me bank this thing? Honestly, I wanted to get alittle crazy after awhile, but these guys treated me so well and I didn't want to disappointment them with crazy antics. Although, he did grab the controls a couple of times, sorta saying 'easy now Ace!'
 

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Very cool man!!!  Trippy huh?

Quote Engine now warm, I start to taxi the runway.  Kinda weird to steer this plane, over-compensating back and forth, finally started getting the hang of it.
  Boy, isn't that the truth.  'Where is the steering wheel? What!? you steer HOW!??!'

Quote As we started down the runway gaining more and more speed, I pulled on the yoke, and was instructed 'pull it back some more, more, more..now start leveling it out at 1000ft.
No way!  That's awesome.  I certainly did not get to do THAT on my intro flight (but I did get to demonstarte my inability to tell the taxiway from the runway on approach).

On my intro flight, we had an Aerobat 150, windows in the roof and the whole 9 yards. We cleared the metro area and went out over Half Moon Bay.  This is when I learned what real G's felt like!  Wow,  We did a 4G turn.  It was a trip!  Damn near impossible for me to breath, grunting (yeah, I'm no fighter pilot, that's for sure) etc.  

It was a BLAST.  Right up the point where we did some stalls and I had a convulsion and passed out!  Yeah..  neat.  I've had similar sensations on commercial aircraft but this was the worst instance ever. He put the plane into breaking stall (not a nice gentle nose-over) and that was all they wrote for me. I was out for a few seconds. Pilot looked sorta freaked out.

I decided that was the end of my flight training. No way would I put anyone in my care if that could *possibly* happen. But it sure was fun while it lasted.  

My best buddy is a pilot and I still get to go up and take the controls from time to time.  Man.. that is SOO FUN! I've never looked at a rollercoaster again in the same light.

Quote Hmmm, pilot certification next?
Hey, at least no worries about the PO PO busting you for speeding up there (not that there are not plenty of regulations but.. if you have a need for speed.....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
LMAO HoleShot! Yea, I turned the heck out of that yoke trying to steer it down the runway, lol! For those who don't know, on the ground steering of the plane is accomplished via the foot pedals (rudder/brake controls?). The pilot had to remind me at least twice to let loose of the yoke. It's a nasty habit having steered everything in your life with some sort of wheel, handlebars, etc.

I'm still laughing at your experience, OMG, I'm glad no stalling or heavy Gs were shown to me. I would probably acted the same. Babysteps for me Thanks for the reply, that was good!
 

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Eh, better double your estimate unless you are family with someone who flys and can get you a good discount. My wife is in the middle of getting her private license and it isn't cheap. She has about 45-50 hours of flying in at this point and has done several solos. She has been studying for her oral exam, then she has her checkout, and after that she starts cross country flights (fly to another airport which has to be at least 50 miles away or something like that). She is hoping to finish everything up by the end of this year or early next year.

Flights typically last an hour and a half for her so far, and each time she goes up for that amount of time I get a bill for about $100. So, with her discounted price (her brother works at NetJets so she gets everything *cheap*) we will end up spending probably $6000.

Edit: BTW, congrats on the flight though! I have thought about doing it myself but figure one hobby (racing the motorcycle) is enough to keep me busy. Plus I can't handle the extra expense. It sure would be fun though....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow, congrats to your wife. It's probably nerve racking alone just doing solos, but I heard about the cross country requirements. Going to several airports, having your log book signed, and off to the next one. That takes guts or confidence. Pretty cool wifey you got there. If I do pursue this it would be a leisurely (sp) thing for fun, no quick certification/license pursuit. I also read about COMBAT flying in Ca., anyone heard of this? You ride shotgun and dogfight another pilot/passenger for about an hour (very fast planes).
 

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lfg929 : Eh, better double your estimate unless you are family with someone who flys and can get you a good discount. My wife is in the middle of getting her private license and it isn't cheap. She has about 45-50 hours of flying in at this point and has done several solos. She has been studying for her oral exam, then she has her checkout, and after that she starts cross country flights (fly to another airport which has to be at least 50 miles away or something like that). She is hoping to finish everything up by the end of this year or early next year.

Flights typically last an hour and a half for her so far, and each time she goes up for that amount of time I get a bill for about $100. So, with her discounted price (her brother works at NetJets so she gets everything *cheap*) we will end up spending probably $6000.

Edit: BTW, congrats on the flight though! I have thought about doing it myself but figure one hobby (racing the motorcycle) is enough to keep me busy. Plus I can't handle the extra expense. It sure would be fun though....
So u mean to tell me that your wife will get on a plane to fly accross the country but she's skeptical about letting your boy have a dirtbike???

Congrats Dave, sounds like a good time
 

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ND4SPDSHO : So u mean to tell me that your wife will get on a plane to fly accross the country but she's skeptical about letting your boy have a dirtbike???  
Yep, that would be her. She is also skeptical of this whole racing thing. Everytime she brings it up I remind her about how dangerous it is flying a small plane. She mentions something about how safe flying is and I have to remind her again that those statistics are for commercial airliners, not single engine aircraft. Then she says something about how you can just glide down and land in a field. So I remind her about how many stories you hear where a small plane landed in a field, flipped, and everyone died. She eases up after that...

Besides, she has caved in on the dirtbike (just like she did on me racing). I just have to get him to ditch the training wheels on the bicycle and then I have a green light for the dirtbike.
 

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Awesome!

While I was in England last summer a friend who knew I was into flying booked me in to the same kinda deal at Goodwood Aerodrome. It was pretty neat. You fly off the grass. We flew out over Portsmouth harbor and he showed me some of the stuff that was still laying around from the D-Day invasion, things like pieces of the famous floating harbors and stuff.

The guy was an old RAF fighter pilot so he cranked a few nice turns off and gave me the controls to fly back to the airport. I even got to fly part of the approach. You'll see from the pics we were flying around in some thunderhead type stuff, so I also got to fly the plane through some (what I thought) was fairly significant turbulence. Interesting to feel that through the controls...

Anyways, I will be a pilot someday, just don't want to commit the funds right now.
 

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lfg929 : Quote (ND4SPDSHO @ July 29 2003, 12:06pm)So u mean to tell me that your wife will get on a plane to fly accross the country but she's skeptical about letting your boy have a dirtbike???  
Yep, that would be her. She is also skeptical of this whole racing thing. Everytime she brings it up I remind her about how dangerous it is flying a small plane. She mentions something about how safe flying is and I have to remind her again that those statistics are for commercial airliners, not single engine aircraft. Then she says something about how you can just glide down and land in a field. So I remind her about how many stories you hear where a small plane landed in a field, flipped, and everyone died. She eases up after that...
That is pure comedy.
 

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luvtolean : You'll see from the pics we were flying around in some thunderhead type stuff, so I also got to fly the plane through some (what I thought) was fairly significant turbulence.  Interesting to feel that through the controls...
Damn...that's some nasty looking wx behind you. Great pic...looks like a lot of fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yea LTL, that's a very cool looking plane and that weather does look alittle 'turbulent'!!!  Your experience blows mine away, you've seen quite a bit for how young you are.

lfg - Supposedly you can glide quite a ways (starting at a high enough altitude) if you do have engine failure.  Personally, I would be worried sick every time my wife (if I had one) went up versus her racing. But I'm sure she's more than capable.  What parents!  Mom's flying planes and Dad's racing Suberbikes!  Awesome!
 

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Red Rider : Damn...that's some nasty looking wx behind you.  Great pic...looks like a lot of fun.
I think that's known as 'fine British weather' or something like that. Which means only a few raindrops.

Naw, I don't think it blows it away Dave! We both got to go fly right? Besides, my hour didn't 'count'. I have been very fortunate the last few years...
 

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Flying has gotten way expensive. When I was 20 or so, it was about $3,500 to get your license. Nothing like making it up to Tahoe in little more than 1 1/2 hours from Reid Hillveiw in Palo Alto.
Geat story!
 
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