My First Lesson

This all took place at the Rancho Murieta airport. The first things I needed were a log book, some pre-flight tools, and the club checklists. Checklists are very important things. You use them always, except right before you forget something. Anyway, we walked out to the line, and he taught me how to preflight an airplane. From then on, he said, that was my first job before any lesson. Ideally I'd have it done before he got there, so we could get right to it. That occasionally happened. :-)

After checking it out, we climbed into the plane, a Cessna 172, N70416 (pictured above, parked at Sac Exec). We went over some stuff I needed to know, then went down the list to start it up. It's a kick starting a plane up for the first time. It's still a kick, but the first time is really cool. I taxied it off the ramp (parking area) onto the taxiway heading down to the end of the runway.

He did all the radio work for the first 4 or 5 lessons, cuz I had other things to learn. When he said it was safe, I pulled out onto the runway and pushed the throttle all the way in. When we were going fast enough, he told me to pull back gently on the yolk until the nose of the plane was even with the horizon. Remember how I said starting it was a kick? That was nothing compared to the first liftoff!

We headed out over the open area south west of Rancho Murieta. We didn't do anything but climb until we got to 1500 feet MSL (Mean Sea Level, as opposed to AGL - Above Ground Level). When you're learning, you don't do anything lower than 1500 feet. That was over 1300 feet above the ground, which gave us (well, him) time to recover from anything stupid I might have done. He led me through climbs, descents, and turning. I think that was about it for the first lesson, and on back we went, where he landed the plane. I was still 2000 feet up the rest of the day!

I could go through my log book and list every lesson and what we did, but that would even bore me, so I won't. He had a list of things he had to teach and I had to be able to do, like the basics (from the first lesson), stalls, steep turns (45 degrees), holding a heading, holding altitude, etc. I looked forward to every lesson, and even the bad days when I wasn't doing anything right were still great.

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