A while back I posted two videos regarding my experience flying in a glider. In Civil Air Patrol cadets can participate in Orientation flights (often referred to as O-flights). These are not formal flight training, but do give you a good introduction to flying as well as teach you important things about flying. Your first five of each (glider and powered) are free, and after that they only cost about 30-35 dollars. After you turn 18, they aren't free, but you can still pay to play. Not to mention there is no restrictions on just flying as an observer (passenger). So bring a camera.
The glider is definitely has a more exciting feel of flight, but I still love both. Anyways, so we got to the airport bright and early. After signing in and getting ready and all that. We (another cadet and the senior member who would be flying us) went out to the hangar and got the plane ready and did the preflight check. The prop had been dinged somehow but had been repaired prior to our flight. Just like a sword blade, a prop gouge has to be filed right off. Our fuel was low, so we taxied up to the av gas station. It was comical how much it operated like a car pump.
Our pilot went up to the pump put the credit card in and all that. She probably spent 80 dollars in gas
but she will get reimbursed so it's no big deal. Actually, av gas has gone down from about 4.65 to 3.99 a gallon. Who knew, right? It is also important to note the procedure of grounding the plane, plugging a grounding cable in so that we don't reenact the Hindenburg. After the fueling process, you haul back on the hose until you hear clicking noises, and then you guide the hose back onto its spring-loaded reel.
Anyways, so the system is usually that one cadet sits in the back seat while the other sits in the copilot seat. We then fly to another airport, and then switch seats. There is a lot of dialogue between the pilot and the co-pilot (since he is the one being taught) and the backseater typically keeps his mouth shut. Not that there is a tax or anything if you don't though.
Each occupant is equipped with a headset with a mic. For intercommunication in the plane, you just need to make sure it's plugged in and the mic is close to your lips so everyone can hear you when you talk. The only time you need "push-to-talk" is if you are talking over the radio to other pilots, ground control, etc.
The plane is pretty loud, but I took off my headset a few times and it is completely bearable. You could shout over the noise of the engine with considerable ease as well.
I flew the plane a little bit, I was still not taking as much advantage of the opportunity to do so,
but hopefully I will become more confident with the controls in the future. It is always tricky when you are distracted taking pictures (more of a problem with my glider flight than in this case) and then being hesitant because you don't want to do something the pilot disapproves of, despite being as forgiving as they are.
We then flew to another airport and bought some oil since it was low and since none was available at our home airport. We then switched seats and I had more of an opportunity to take pictures.
I have to say cameras are both man's best and worst friend when flying, because you spend one half actually enjoying the ride (and wondering if you should take pictures) and the other half taking pictures and wondering if you should just put the stupid piece of metal and plastic away.
|Mud-splattered boots from stepping in a puddle during the refueling. #likearookie|
Also notice the fire extinguisher, very important if we get hit by ack-ack.
During the the back-seat flight I got plenty of pictures and selfies.
|me in the observer position|
|it is amazing how you can see the horizon and the curvature of the earth, or at least imagine it.|
|notice the landing gear in this shot|
|I'm pretty sure that's a compass|
|It is amazing how few pedestrians you can see when flying. Plenty of cars, but I only saw one person for sure.|
|I found these wind turbines particularly fascinating.|
Here is a video I put together of my glider flight (the one I already posted) and the new video of my powered flight as well.