Tuesday, November 26, 2013

39 + 1

"Over the Hill!" - unknown

I turned 39 + 1  two weeks ago.

Beloved surprised me with a 3 day flying class with a local instructor so I could learn to land a plane. Mainly because every time we go flying I think "What is something happens to you while we are flying? I have no idea how to land this thing."   So, he hired an instructor while he hung out with the kids to give me the basics. (Beloved could teach me but it is extremely expensive to rent a plane for our family just for basic flying.)

The class was called a "Pinch and Hitter" Pilot course.  My instructor was fairly new at instructing. He could not have been instructing for longer than 1 year. In my opinion not enough experience in dealing with reluctant learners because he teaches people who have a desire to fly typically not just people that want to land!   He was 22 years old as well. Not married, so not enough experience in dealing with women! And, definitely no experience with Redheads!  It was a horrible set up from the beginning really!

The plane I flew was a small 4 seater called a Piper.   To say that it was an experience I will never forget would be an understatement. I'll skip most of the details but I will give you the gist!

The first day, the instructor took off in a light rain but thick mist. Beloved was extremely surprised we took off in that weather. Me too! By the time we got up in the air and had turned to go into a pattern, the mist was so thick that we could not see the airport to land and not really even see the ground clearly!  The instructor was nervous taking the Piper into the clouds and doing instrument flying was not on the agenda!  And, the man had no maps!!!  I just sat quietly and calmly.  Finally, right when we were directly over the airport, I saw the strip and he was able to land safely after we got an extremely quick clearance to land.  When we landed, the instructor said, "We won't mention this to anyone!"

The second day, It was hazy and windy!! The wind was picking us up and putting us down roughly. And, this was causing me not to understand how to control the plane in the weather. And, it was my first time on the controls.  But, lets just say that the instructor failed to mention some basic information about banking and the possibility of rolling after the wind has picked up the plane and set it back down.   After being frightened, we went and did some touch and gos on the airstrip.  And by frightened I mean that I said, "I am out of my comfort zone. I am needing a break." I am very good under pressure typically.  During the landing portion, he failed to give some extremely important information on landing! Honestly, it felt like he was flying by the seat of his pants. 

So, after the second day of class, I was stressed due to being out of my comfort zone for such a long time. I spent many hours after the class asking Beloved: Why is the plane doing this?, How do I read this instrument when turning?  What limits can the plane not exceed?, etc.  HOURS and HOURS of conversation!  And, in this house that is a miracle with 5 children under 10!

I was not sure I even wanted to go back the 3rd day! I was spending many, many hours outside of my comfort zone and it was causing me stress.  Plus, my body was fighting a staph infection and I was on antibiotics and just did not feel good!  I pushed through and went the third day. It was on this day, that I had a lot of information from Beloved and was able to put it together with doing the motions of flying that things began to slowly click. Plus, I had information from Beloved to be able to ask my instructor questions that he obviously had not told me and did not realize he needed to tell me because he is so new at instructing.   

Let's just say, I finished the third class with more confidence in being able to at least do a crash landing on an airport strip!  But, the best part is I have a fighting chance to even land the plane well too!

Needless to say, Beloved agrees that the instructor was so new at instructing and with little experience with "life" that he was not the best instructor for me.  I think what saved the whole disastrous class is that I am an extremely fast learner and I had the advantage of coming home and asking Beloved questions!

 Beloved said, "He is a young instructor. He is getting valuable information from instructing you!"  Of course, that is not really all that encouraging to me!  But, Beloved agrees that the guy now knows not to take off in that type of weather, he knows to take maps, he now knows that telling someone that when you are turning an airplane that it is important information for the person to know not to bank pass this particular amount, and he now knows that he needs to make sure that he tells people that if you don't keep the nose up when landing it is possible to get yourself in a situation where you could take a propeller off!"

Beloved succeeded in his mission!
I will forever be a better passenger because I will be glad that I am not on the controls!

Ha! Happy Birthday to me, right?! It was the most stressful birthday present I have ever received! And, poor Beloved just thought it would be fun!


  1. Happy Birthday! and wow! what a way to celebrate! ;) I have the 39 +1 coming up Dec 5....

  2. Well, happy late birthday....what a great way to spend a big mile stone in your life. :-D


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