Steven’s PPL Diary 1: Climbing, Descending and Checks


When approached by the upper echelons of the Profpilot management team (Sam) to write a diary of my PPL training I thought “How could I say no?” Donning my 4-bar epaulettes, sheep skin lined leather jacket and authority commanding pilot’s moustache I took to my computer to write the first (of hopefully many) PPL diary entries.

Standard profpilot contributor garb.

Standard profpilot contributor garb.

For those of you who wish to follow along with my oh-so exciting tales, I’m following “Air Pilot’s Manual – Flying Training” which can be purchased from the ProfPilot shop and some other aviation related book stores (But Sam doesn’t get commission from those).

A picture of the profpilot management team. Although they are slightly more manly. And there is no cash. And they are not that jovial.

[Yep - that's a photo of me rolling in my commission. Although I am slightly more manly. And I'm not as jovial. And there is no actual money. - Sam]

Day 1 – Getting to know the Aircraft.
Aircraft Familiarisation

[Exercises 1 – 4, Part I]

Nerves? Skygod’s don’t get nerves. So, there I was nervous as hell, staring at the Piper Cherokee I had just been briefed on. Climb onto the wing, open the door, this flying lark is easy I thought just before I fell into the aircraft… After struggling with my belt, the instructor ran through all the checks, pointing out what things did as he went along and 5 minutes, or so, later we were airborne.

The day was perfect for flying, clear skies and smooth and hurtling through the sky at just over 100 miles per hour and now it was my time to take control. Clinging to the column for dear life (White knuckles etc.) I follow the instructions, climb, level out, descend, level out, turn left and right the instructor takes back control and begins to show me what effects different engine rpm speeds have on the aircraft, which is what I had been briefed on. As it happens, both increasing and decreasing rpm eventually involve some form of nose down altitude losing situation which is solved by a slight pull back on the controls and a slight change to engine rpm. There was none of this death defying plunging to earth, and pilots valiantly grappling with the controls narrowly avoiding nearby orphanages, as you get to read about in the newspaper (or see in the profpilot flight training video series).

Screenshot from the harrowing and haunting profpilot flight training video series.

Screenshot from the harrowing and haunting profpilot flight training video series.

We (he did it first, then I had a go) then covered the effects of controls at different speeds; worked the rudder, ailerons, elevators and an introduction to the trim wheel(s), you can find out what happens for yourself, I’m not going to spoil your fun. That was that for my first lesson, my instructor had me point the aircraft to the white blob that was the airport and less than 5 minutes later we were flying over head and making a circuit (I think that’s the right term, still don’t understand the whole landing part) around the airport and the instructor took back control, after I had it pointed roughly towards the runway, and he eased it back onto terra firma.

So, that was the my first lesson over, taxied back to the school after landing, shut down checks completed and I (almost) fall out of the aircraft. Debrief began covering what had happened during the flight and why, and I got to purchase (and fill out) my very first log book. Lesson booked for next week, hope for good weather again and maybe I’ll be a little less nervous, still, it’s bloody good fun.

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