What’s Really Gone Before – Part I

Having covered my virtual flying adventures  in my last post, I’m now going to reminisce about my (more important) real-world experience to date.

My first flight in a general aviation (GA) aircraft took place in June 2004 when a friend of my cousin offered to take us both up as passengers. At the time, the friend was funding his own training to become a commercial airline pilot and needed to increase the number of flying hours in his log book. We met him at EGTR Elstree and climbed into G-ODEN, a Piper PA-28-161 Warrior.

I sat in the co-pilot seat and got my first taste of controlling a light aircraft, an experience that has stuck with me and motivated me ever since. I can also remember two very specific things about that first flight… one, that real-world non-military pilots don’t refer to altitude levels as ‘Angels 1, 2, etc.’ and two, that a runway can look awfully small and short on a final approach! Here are some images from that day…

Just a couple of months later, and I was off on another flight to a destination beyond the UK. A friend of my father’s had invited him on a day trip to Le Touquet by air. Being aware of my interest in flight simulation and aviation, my father asked if I could join them. A somewhat grey day in August 2004 found me in the co-pilot’s seat again, this time departing from EGMA Fowlmere in G-JACS, a Piper PA-28-181 Cherokee Archer II. I can remember the experience vividly and was delighted to be able to control the aircraft several times during the flight, including taxiing and taking off from Le Touquet.

Thank you to both of the above pilots who took me up in their aircraft because these two particular flights made a deep impression on me and have been fundamental in providing a bedrock foundation of a desire to pilot similar aircraft nearly 13 years on. In the second part of this post I’ll go over some more recent flight experiences I’ve enjoyed.

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