My First Flying Lesson – 30 minutes in the air with Fly Blackpool
Last year I had just started my phase of being obsessed with trying new things if I was given the opportunity. Thankfully I’m actually still in this phase, and my life is all the more amazing for it, but one of the first experiences I tried was flying an airplane.
I found an offer on Living Social for a 30 minute flying lesson with Fly Blackpool for £50, (normally £100) and thought it looked like a decent deal. One thing I will do before purchasing something from a deal site is make sure I know exactly what I am getting, so I always check the originators website and any reviews I can find online. Fly Blackpool’s website looked pretty basic, but it had a short description of the 30 minute lesson;
Trial Lesson 30 Minutes:
Fleetwood and back, past the tower up the Fylde coast, around the corner at Morecambe Bay and down the River Wyre; a great hands-on deal.
I also emailed the company for some more information, and they confirmed that you do get a full 30 minutes in the air, as I find with some deals they include the time taken to get the safety brief and talk on what you’re going to be doing etc, so I thought that was really great and decided to go for it!
I would first like to say how fantastic all the staff were at Fly Blackpool. After we set off from Preston giving ourselves plenty of time to arrive we soon came to a standstill on the M55. After minutes of searching for traffic updates it looked like a vehicle had caught fire on the hard shoulder and the motorway had been reduced to one lane, and we were still quite a way off getting passed it. I called ahead to tell Fly Blackpool that I might be late, and they were fantastic. I was told that I could be up to 30 minutes late and still go out, as there was a free slot after me and the pilot was happy to wait, and if I couldn’t make this then they would re-arrange the lesson for me.
Thankfully we made it exactly 30 minutes after my appointment time, and the staff were happy to still let me fly out. They even told me that my boyfriend could come up with me as a passenger which was amazing, as I wasn’t expecting to be allowed to take someone up with me! My pilot was Chris Berry, he took me out in a PA28-161 Warrior Aircraft, and he was great from start to finish. He went through the controls in the cockpit, and then as he took the plane to the runway, we chatted about how he became a pilot. I still laugh about when I asked him why he didn’t fly commercial flights, and he told me it was because he wasn’t too good at the taking off and landing bits……
Before the experience started I expected to have the pilot take the plane into the air and to land it, but while up there I thought I would get a quick go at the controls, but this experience was so much more hands on than I expected, that it made it all the more better. As we got to the runway to take off, Chris told me to lightly hold the controls so I could feel how you take off. Although he had the ultimate control, if he moved the controls, mine moved also, so I could see how you would take off, and got to feel a bit like I was ‘helping’ him get the plane off the ground. As we took off and started to climb, Chris let go of the controls and told me the plane was all mine! I couldn’t believe that we had been in the air for seconds and I was already in control. He guided me through taking the plane up, and then helped me level out once we reached our desired height. As we flew out over the coast Chris talked me through the controls and the sights around us. He showed me how to turn and then left me to fly up the coast towards Fleetwood. Once there I was left to turn the plane back towards the airstrip, and only a few times did Chris retake the controls to straighten me out or slightly adjust my course.
As we neared the airstrip I was surprised at the landing procedure. I always assumed that a plane was driven down onto the runway, but it’s actually more like letting the plane fall out of the sky. Instead of steering the plane down, you cut the power to slowly drop the height of the plane. Most of this was done by Chris, but I maintained the controls. I must say that there are a few moments when the plane drops that made me nervous, but I soon got used to it as we made our descent. I was allowed to maintain control of the plane until we almost hit the runway, at this point Chris took over and I kept hold of the controls as he flew along the runway before finally putting the plane down.
All in all we were probably up in the air for 30 minutes, and I even got to do a bit of steering as we headed back to the hanger. So I now have 30 minutes fly time banked if I ever fancied becoming a pilot, and I must say it was an amazing experience. I would love to try the 30 minutes Aerobatics Lesson they offer one day as well!Thanks for reading!
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