By EMILY LININGER
On June 9, 2020, I had a flight lesson with a certified flight instructor. I have always dreamed of having flight lessons, ever since I decided that I wanted to be a missionary pilot.
I never thought I would have a few lessons this summer, but the Lord’s timing is not always mine. When I finished the Sporty’s Learn to Fly course, I got a voucher for a free flight lesson. It seemed that the Lord was opening the door for me to pursue flight training.
When my mom and I arrived at the airport for my first flight lesson, we met my flight instructor. He and I went over a few things before we went to preflight the airplane. The airplane was a white and orange Cessna 152, and its tail number was N6021F. I read out loud everything that was on the preflight checklist, and the instructor went over with me what it all meant.
Once our preflight checklist was finished, the instructor, Spencer, let me taxi to the runway. Once we were cleared for takeoff, he briefed me on the basics of taking off, and he allowed me to take off.
We flew to the west and Spencer had me practice some turns. He corrected me on what I did wrong, and each time I tried to get better. We also went to different altitudes, and Spencer taught me how I needed to either add or decrease power whenever I went to a higher altitude or a lower altitude.
Another thing that Spencer taught me was that a good pilot flies with three fingers; otherwise you will be constantly adjusting the controls. He told me that most student pilots are aggressive with the controls when they start out. That made me feel a little better.
The instructor also demonstrated positive g’s and negative g’s. After practicing straight and level flight, and coordinated turns, we headed back to the airport to do some touch-and-go landings. On the first landing, the instructor told me what we were going to do and that he was going to do the landings because the landings are the hardest part of flying. On the second touch-and-go, he had me fly the traffic pattern. While we landed the second time, the instructor allowed me to have my hands on the controls so I could feel what he was doing and sort of do the landing with him.
Sadly, the saying “time flies when you are having fun” came true, and my first flight lesson had to come to an end. Although it seemed like we were in the air for only maybe 30 minutes, we were actually flying for an hour.
Once we were on the ground and parked, my instructor taught me the knots to use when tying down the airplane.
I am very glad that I was able to have my first flight lesson and that it was a positive experience for me. It only made me feel more passionate about learning to fly. I can’t wait till I can continue my learning with more flight lessons.
Emily, 16, has been a charter member of the EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth program, which is now called Squadron 534, and has been taking part in in Young Eagles for many years. She never misses a chance to take a ride in a plane and she is now starting to realize her dream by learning how to fly. She had finished Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course and was awarded a voucher for an hour of dual flight instruction. Unfortunately, it did not actually cover the cost at her local airport. When this was discovered by the members of EAA Chapter 534, individual members stepped up to help her cover the difference in cost. This has morphed into a movement among the membership to support her and continue her flight instruction. So far, chapter members have donated enough money for her to pay for six hours of dual instruction. We hope this is just the beginning!