This is a follow on from my first blog written about my first ever flying lesson.

So, just as my last lesson began with an early morning alarm, so did this one. It’s all-worthwhile though because I get to go flying! As with before I have to start my day with the drive to Elstree in London. Coming from the other side of the country, some might say that’s crazy! (I live in North Devon, so it’s a bit of a trek.) Luckily, that sort of thing doesn’t deter me however, because I arrive at the airfield only to be met by the lovely Tamsyn from Flight Training London with a cup of tea in hand and a constant supply of biscuits! If I was a little nervous, she soon makes me feel at ease, while we wait for Ivan to touch with the student who was booked before me. As the plane taxis in, the expression on their faces confirms to me why I have come back and that incredible sense of excitement returns once more. Freedom in the Air and Flight training London work together to make aviation more inclusive.

I have a quick catch up with Ivan before we start the next lesson and it is soon obvious that something is a little different this time. You see, the last time I was here I was taking my first introductory flight and not really a formal lesson. It was incredible and for that reason I have thought of nothing more than learning to fly properly. The first thing Ivan asks is if I have read the first couple of chapters of my flight training manual that he recommended the last time I was here. Of course if I were to drive so far and not come prepared that would be crazy! Luckily for both of us I have had my nose firmly planted in that book for the last few weeks!

We have our flight briefing where Ivan explains the principles behind today’s exercises. I am instantly put at ease by his knowledge and find this the perfect opportunity to ask a multitude of questions, including things such as; “Ivan, what does the Carburetor heat switch do?” To which he quite calmly explains that it adds heat to the Carburetor! Despite me feeling like an absolute numpty at this point, we soon laugh it off and head out to make our checks on the aircraft. Soon enough we are lined up at the end of the runway, take off clearance is given by the tower and as I advance that “Top gun throttle” as Tamsyn puts it, the feeling of extreme excitement, pride, responsibility but most of all, freedom returns.

We complete the practical part of our lesson which includes flying straight and level, trimming the aircraft and learning about the heading indicator, (this helps you know exactly where you are going.) Before I know it, it is time to re-join the pattern for an approach back to Elstree and complete another landing! I think this is almost as exciting as take off. With our landing clearance given and instructions from Ivan I manage to pop the wheels of the Piper PA-28 back on the tarmac and we taxi back to the school, where we have a bite of lunch and Tamsyn has cups of tea waiting.

While I was skyward the lovely Gautam from Freedom in the air dropped by. Too bad I missed him, but he left me a beautiful Pilots flight bag, this contained a multitude of important bits of kit for pilots! The starter kit was kindly given to me by Sebastian Pooley, whose company, Pooleys Flight Equipment supports the work of Freedom in the Air. Being provided with such wonderful learning tools makes flying just that bit more affordable for me.

Included was an entire study pack of books, aimed to get me ready for the written portions of the Private Pilots training course, as well as a load of maps and airfield information books that cover the whole of the UK. He also included the all important log book that every pilot must have in order to log how many flying hours they have done. With some help from Ivan, I soon had my first flights logged and he started to explain some of the more complicated bits and bobs inside my shiny new pilots bag! This includes a flight computer, a whole bunch of charts and various flight planning tools. #YouHaveControl

I can’t help but feel just a touch nervous about what is still to come and whether or not I will be up to the task, but hey, I’ve got to learn to fly! The bug has well and truly bitten and with all of the help I have had and continue to have from Flight Training London and Freedom in the Air, I am certain that with some hard work and a laugh along the way, I will absolutely succeed!

After all, that feeling you get when you are in control of the aircraft is like no other. It is completely indescribable and you will just have to have a go yourself if you want to know exactly what I’m talking about!

With my first couple of flights logged, a brand new pilots bag and an increasing understanding of how flying actually works, I can not wait to continue with what has to be the most exciting thing I have ever undertaken in my life so far! Huge thanks has to go to both Freedom in the Air and Flight Training London for all of their help and kindness so far. Bring on the next lesson!

For Further Information and to learn more about disabled pilot training, visit FITA at:
Freedom in the Air on Facebook
Freedom in the Air on YouTube
Freedom in the Air on Vimeo
Freedom in the Air on Twitter

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