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Flying an Aircraft

Updated: Jun 3

Have you ever wondered what it is like to take control of an aircraft for the first time? This article will cover all the different controls of a light aircraft, after my personal experience in Perth with the Royal Aero club of W.A. Even though I was in Australia, almost all flight schools globally offer a discovery flight for those interested in the experience. 

The journey begins almost as soon as you step foot on the apron, as you usually perform a safety check and walk around the aircraft that will be in your hands for the next hour. Depending on the area you are flying in, you may also be provided with a life jacket for safety purposes. Most training aircraft are as small as possible to reduce costs and make it as easy as possible to fly, so chances are that it will be a squeezy ride. From the parking bay to your cruising altitude, the instructor will handle it. If the taxi is slightly long, you may have the opportunity to steer the plane using the pedals. The best thing to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the thrilling takeoff.

Once you are in the air, you will be able to take over the controls, and usually the instructor will navigate you towards the planned direction. Sometimes, you will be heading towards a significant landmark or landscape, and you can admire the stunning views while the instructor may take you round in circles. For me, I was able to enjoy the breathtaking views of Rottnest island from 2000 feet above the ground, and I got to try a few steep turns over the island which was definitely an experience. 

In some instances, you may be in an aerobatic aircraft which will allow you to experience some exhilarating spins and twists. This was the case for me, and I was lucky enough to enjoy a barrel roll, a wingover and a half loop. The feeling of floating as the plane dives downwards is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Usually from there, the instructor will regain control of the aircraft and navigate your way back down to the airfield. They may let you feel the aircraft’s yoke or side-stick during the final approach to get a feel of landing the aircraft. 

If you are interested in flying an aircraft, or have thought about becoming a pilot, I would 100% recommend this potentially life-changing experience if you get the opportunity.

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