Glenn, my flight instructor, asks if I’m ready to move to the pilot’s seat. Nope. I choose to stay in the co-pilot seat, for now, at least, since I will hopefully only fly if something happens to my husband. I want to become more confident knowing for sure I can fly from my regular seat, assuming I’m awake, since I usually sleep when my husband flies. Wait, I would be awake if…. Oh, never mind. See, I trust him. It may be more difficult to fly from the right side, however, because it’s hard to see the instruments, like the airspeed indicator, turn coordinator and the altimeter. Yep, I looked it up. That’s in Chapter 3.
I’m pretty consistent at the 1,900 feet altitude this time, which is supposed to help while I learn to take off and land. Clearly, it frees me to focus on whatever the next lesson is to be. I come in too slow on the first landing so have to increase the throttle. The next time I’m too high, reduce throttle, bring nose down. Whoa…bring nose down too much. I discover what happens when you don’t keep the nose up or “flare” enough during landing. Your instructor steps in. Otherwise, I would have hit nose first instead of back wheels first. Not good. Grumman owner hubby would not be happy. Neither would Joey, his partner. Thank you guys for trusting me. Or trusting Glenn.
About this time, I realize I need a bathroom break. No can do. Lesson to myself. Don’t drink a glass of water just before going flying.
The next is a fairly good landing; another one not so good. The sixth time I must have flown too fast, too high, or too something, but that darn plane refuses to hit the ground. Bounces like a yoyo, a string pulls it back into the air. It won’t touch down, almost as if it has a mind of its own. Glenn thinks I haven’t pulled the throttle all the way back. When we finally land nearly three miles down the runway, we’re closer to the end than normal.
Glenn says, “I’ll help you out and do the take off.” He quickly pushes in the carburetor heat, puts up the flaps and gives it the gas. We take off in seconds. I don’t understand his bravery. Why anyone would want to be in the same airplane with me while I’m learning is beyond my understanding. I’m told that you let the plane settle down quietly instead of fighting with it and pushing the nose down.
I’m ready to quit. For obvious reasons. But we continue and finally on the eighth landing, I hear, “That’s enough for today.” I taxi to the hangar and shut down, lock up the airplane, close the hanger door and rush to the bathroom.
I quit lessons because the plane is scheduled for its annual inspection. Temporarily. Soloing is a possibility. If I can take 10 lessons, maybe I can fly alone someday. The possibility of flying to Texas anytime I want is tempting. But at this rate, it may take a couple of years.
Correction: My husband was not born in 1940. This is his mother and his grandparents.