My first flight

Grumman AA-1CEver since my break up with Sebastian and moving into the new apartment I’ve been experiencing a profound sense of listlessness. In Afrikaans, we would use the term “is nie lus nie”. There’s no direct translation but it speaks of a general lack of desire. It’s a nasty sense of boredom. Not that there’s nothing to do, just that you don’t feel like doing anything. It’s the first rung on the ladder to depression and I’m not about to let that happen. 

Auckland Aero ClubSo, I’ve been setting extra mural activities for myself again. That involves setting small goals and then scheduling tasks for myself on my calendar so as to achieve those goals. One such task I set for myself on Friday was to call the Auckland Aero Club and schedule a trial flying lesson. You see, one of my more surprising recent goals is that I want to learn to fly: to get my private pilot’s license.

Hatchet in the planeSo, one fine Saturday (today in fact) at a quarter to 1pm, I was well on my way to Ardmore airfield, to begin my very first 30 minute flying lesson. I’d partied hard the night before (another resolution I’m trying hard to keep to myself), so I hadn’t had anything to eat. I stopped off at a petrol station to get an Up & Go for breakfast.

I turned up at reception and announced to the fine uniformed man at reception that I was Stephen, looking for Jason. It turned out that the uniformed chap was Jason himself.

First flight in the GrummanMy plane was a Grumman AA-1C. Foxtrot, Victor Romeo, to be precise. Jason performed all the pre-flight checks and we taxied onto runway 21 (a runway so named because it was on a 21 degree angle to North).

Jason let me take off, surprisingly less difficult than I expected. For a rough map of the flight, have a look at this map of my first flight.

Kauri BayWe flew out over the Kauri bay, over which we could see Auckland City in the distance, the Coromandel, Rangitoto, Waiheke, Barrier Island and the like. Jason took the controls for a brief moment while I took some of these beautiful photos.

We flew for about 30 minutes. Jason remarked that I was doing pretty well since, when I turned; I subconsciously pulled back on the stick (no pun intended). I didn’t say so, but it was embarrassingly familiar: flight simulators are far more realistic than you think.

Kauri BayAs I pulled us back in line with runway 21 again, we flew through a little turbulence over the hill and a nasty realisation dawned. You see, I used to get car sick, I still get sea-sick on a boat and even first person shooting games make me feel a little woozy. It turns out this applies to flying in turbulence. Jason took over control to actually land the plane (which was very gentle). All the while I was willing myself to not throw up in the cockpit.

DSC_6454When I confessed my wooziness, my instructor brushed it off: “I felt a little sick my first time, it takes about 6 times before your body gets used to flying” he said cheerfully. Even so, I didn’t feel quite the same till I got home and leaned over the toilet for a bit. It may also have had something to do with the Vodka I’d drunk the night before 🙂

Anyway, turbulence induced nausea aside: it was a fantastic experience, something I’d dearly like to continue on with.