The Winds of Change

I can say with every certainty now, a good instructor makes all the difference.  Yesterday while the rain poured down across greater Portland I met with my new CFI for a ground school lesson. It took all of my gumption to drive up to the airport and give it another go, but I left in better spirits.

It was a lesson on airplane systems. Instead of point to pictures in a book and talk shop somewhere ten feet above my head, we headed down to a hangar where mechanics had planes pulled apart for maintenance.

I got to understand the design of a propeller (chomping down and slicing up) by watching my instructor spin one slowly in front of me.

I saw a carburetor in pieces.

I spun a gyroscope in my hand.

I got to see some of the subtle differences between a Cessna 152 and 172 and a Piper Seminole.

I got to see with the cowling pulled off where many of the wires that normally disappear mysteriously under the hood connect.

This morning I awoke to more gray skies and light drizzle. Surely my flight lesson would be cancelled.


Nope. According to my new instructor, you can’t learn to fly in bad weather unless you get up there and do it. And so, up we went.

I learned the principles of slow flight and then we headed back to the airport to do touch and goes.

It’s a new world flying in Portland. For starters, there are mountains and volcanoes. Big ones. Then there’s the trees. So many really, really tall trees all the way up to the runway. And then there’s the airport itself. In Texas I flew from a privately-owned, non-towered, GA only airport. My new airport not only runs one of the busiest flight schools in the region for fixed wing and rotorcraft (everything up to ATP), the likes of Nike and Intel hangar their their jets there and there is an active FBO for general aviation.

Practicing touch and goes today was like learning an obstacle course. In the pattern there were helicopters hovering at 1,000 feet, jets coming in from the east, students coming in from the West practice area, both patterns (left and right) had traffic and each time around you had to get in line to land on one of three parallel runways simultaneously with other incoming traffic. That is not to mention the flocks of birds that were migrating across the runways. It was thrilling!

A new instructor made all the difference. Before I was ready to quit and everything flying-related made me want to burst into tears of frustration. Now, just like that [insert snap here] flying is fun again. My next lesson is Wednesday. I can’t wait to get back up there!!!!

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5 thoughts on “The Winds of Change

  1. Awesome! Glad to hear things are on the upswing. The place for your training is obviously a lot busier than where you came from, but that’s actually an advantage. When you’re done training, you’ll feel comfortable going into any field no matter how busy. In my experience, that’s not usually true of students learned at quieter airports. The down side to learning at a busy airport is that sometimes it’ll take a little bit longer before the solo you. That’s because you’re going to be flying with helicopters, Jets, and all the other types of airplanes out there. You just have to be better to fly in that environment, and you will be.

    Liked by 1 person

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