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Trip Report: On the stick!

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Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby Gijs » Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:16 am

Yesterday was the day one of my dreams came through: flying a real plane, with my hands on the yoke!

At about 1:15 pm we went to Lelystad Airport (EHLE). We'd to wait a short time in the restaurant, while we were watching al thos little planes and helicopters taxiing 5 meters in front of us and takingoff really quick after eachother (yes, we saw the PH-GYS!). Sometimes even two at the same time. At 2:15 pm my instructor (hi's fulltime job is a A330 pilot for KLM Airlines) sat down around our table to explain some basic stuff. He explained how a plane stays in the air, how to use the yoke, the pedals and the thrust handle. It was a very nice guy and he explained a lot. Altough I did knew most of it, some things where new to me.

Now it was time to go to our plane and make a check around it. There where some other planes next to us on the platform. Our plane was a Piper Warrior (you might know it, since we have a very nice one in FlightGear!). The check started with the tail. He showed us that when we move the elevators the yokes moved front- and backwards, he did the same with the ailerons. At the wings we had to check if we had enough fuel to make an one houre flight. In the left wing there was about 17 US Galon, which is enough for one and a half flight hours. The other wing containd a little les, but we had enough to fly over two and a half hours (which is the distance to Paris!).

After taking some pictures it was time to board. My sister was first, she had to sit behind me, next to my mum. Then it was my turn. I stepped on the black tape on the wing and climbed into the aircraft. My place was at the Captains seat, the instructor was the co-pilot. We had to put our headsets on, which are very good to keep the sound of the engine out of your ears!! The next thing to do was to start the engine. We only had one, so it was quite straight forward. The instructor asked me if I could start a car, well this is the same he said. I turned the key and the engine began to simmer and the propeller started moving. During taxi I had the full controls. Using my feet on the pedals I managed to keep the plane straight on the taxiway. SHortly before the runway we mad a stop to check our engine. The instructor set full power (and full brakes!) and we heard the engine spooling up.

Now we could enter the runway. I was still on the controls. The instructor asked me if I wanted to takeoff. I didn't knew what to say first, but then I said ofcourse! Well, let's go he said. I pushed the trusth handle all the way forward and we start moving. The instrucotr kept the plane straight on the runway with his feet, while I was on the stick. After a very short time we reached 65 kts, which was the speed where we had to pull our nose up. I slowly pulled the yoke towards me and watched the nose coming up. Within a few second we were airborn and flying away from the runway.

We had to make our first turn in the air. It was a left turn. I turned the yoke to the left and the plane rolled over to it's left. A perfect turn. I was very concentrated. I didn't even saw the electircity wires beneath us. After the turn we were parallel to the A6, a highway. We followed the highway all the way to Almere, where we changed our heading to Pampus, a fortress on an island, close to Amsterdam. I was flying straight to Pampus, but the instructor told that we would have a better view if we flew a little right of it. So we turned a little and had a very nice view on the fortress.

Next thing on our citeseeing tour was Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands. THe instructor made a special flightplan for us, because he knew we live in Amsterdam. The airspace above Amsterdam is controlled by Schiphol Airport ATC, so we had to watch our height all the time. We don't want to get in the route of a Boeing 747! Our main height was 1000 ft, but sometimes we went to 800 ft, when we saw some nice things on the ground. After making 3 turns above the city center we flew in the direction of Schiphol (EHAM). The instructor told me that he would ask if we could make a turn around the main tower!! He made radio contact with the tower and asked if we could make a circle around the tower for citeseeing. They agreed and I was feeling wonderfull. On the way to the tower we flew ecactly over my house. We could even see the barbecue of the neighbours.

Then we entered Schiphol's grounds (well, we were still in the air ofcourse, but we came above it's ground terrain). On our left and on our right, everywhere you lookd there where planes. Taxiing beneath us, taking off and landing. It was beautifull. We flew over the terminal buildings and now we where very close to the tower. The instructor told me to make a very steep turn, because we aren't alowed to cross any runways! At about 700 ft we flew three laps around the tower. While we were watching to the controllers, staring at us. When we were finished we left Schiphol by the same way we came through. There where 3 runways in use, we were lucky that there was a gap where no planes would come after takeoff or before landing. So we could safely enter and leave the airport.

After this great intermezzo we went back to Amsterdam. After a last turn we flew to Muiden, a mideavel town with a castle. We had a very nice few. After Muiden we flew above the fortress of Naarden, which is built on a star shaped isle. On a canal close to Muiden we saw some old sail ships. We went a little lower and closer to watch them. Now we were flying above Flevoland again (the manmade piece of land, where Lelystad and Almere are on). Around us we saw a lot of windturbines. It was full of them. And they were only producing a very low amount of electricity. To make enough electricity for the whole country we have to place them everywhere. Luckily they're building new windturbines in the sea. My instructor sees them very often when he's coming over the ocean on approach for Schiphol. Our last real citeseeing spot was Harderwijk, home to the famuos Dolfinarium. A kind of aquarium for Dolphins. At the beginning the instructor told us that we may have some time to watch the Dolphins, we thought he was joking. But from ca. 900 ft we could see the dolphins very clear, jumping out of the water for their show. After one circle above the dolfinarium it was time to go to the airport again, sadly.

All planes approaching EHLE fly to a specific point, called point Bravo (there's a road crossing a bride, so everyone knows where it is). I flew the plane straight to that point. When we reached it we flew in a right-angle to the runway. Close to the runway we made a left turn and we were donwind for runway 05. A right turn to go Base and another right turn and we were on final. I was still controlling the plane, keeping it lined up with the runway. At about 100 ft the instructor took over and landed the plane very smooth (I think it was smooth, since it was my first landing in a small plane). We vacated the runway through taxiway B. Now I was controlling the plane with my feet again. I choose a nice spot to park the plane and turned it in.

We shut off the engines and we put off our headsets, giving our ears some fresh air. Quickly we opened the door, because it had became very hot in the last few minutes. The instructor left the plane and helped us to get out. On the ground we made some pictures with the pilot and ourselves. My father was waiting for us to hear our stories. He wasn't able to fly with us, since there are only 4 seats (including the instrctor). But he already made a flight with a photographer of his job, so I decided to take my mum and sister with me.

In the airport building we sat down for a debriefing. The instructor said he was impressed by my flying skills and he had time to enjoy the view more than with other "first-time-flyers". I told him that I used FlightGear for virtual flights and he said that he could really see the difference with people who had not used a flightsim. With some Icetea and Cola we talked about what we've seen, which was a lot! The instructor wrote a certificate for me, which improves I made a flight. After thanking him very much for the nice flight we ordered something to eat and watched planes takingoff, landing, taxiing and even doing aerobatics!

After a long day I still can't believe I really flew in a plane. It's such an immensive feeling if you turn the yoke and the plane turns with you. I can really advise everyone around here who haven't flew a plane yet to do it. It's the experience of a lifetime! Thanks for reading.

The plane

The cockpit (me at the left, instructor at the right).

Center of Amsterdam (with in the top the Central Station).

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (EHAM)

Flevoland (watch the huge amount of windturbins in the distance!)
Last edited by Gijs on Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby zakalawe » Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:34 am

Awesome pictures, and an awesome day by the sound of it.
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby gooneybird » Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:54 am

Nice one Gijs 8)

Looks like you had a great day and good weather.
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby Fahim Dalvi » Sun Aug 31, 2008 11:55 am

So you Finally got the flight.....wish i was there. Anyways Nice Pics.
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby R-Dude » Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:29 pm

Nice pics, that looked like a fun day!

Congrats on your first time in the pilot's seat ;).
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby sammy5772 » Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:03 am

Sound like you had heaps of fun. Amsterdam looks very beautiful. Since I read this I consider myself extremely lucky. My mum new a workmate who had his private pilots licensce and he said he would take me up. We flew around Aucklands North Shore in a Piper warrior as well! After I did it I felt great and I think you must be felling great also. It just fells so good to be able to be in control like that, don't you agree? :D
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby Gijs » Fri Sep 05, 2008 6:16 am

sammy5772 wrote:After I did it I felt great and I think you must be felling great also. It just fells so good to be able to be in control like that, don't you agree? :D

I totally agree :D
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby new-at-flying » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:56 pm

(A bit late but) nice pictures!
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby technobill » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:01 am

Wow, sounds great. And looks beautiful!
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby VicMar » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:20 am

Hi Gijs,
Its 4 years since I had my first flight. I know exactly how you felt.

The feeling is still there when I see the Cessna I flew pass over my house (we live less than mile from Shoreham Airport (EGKA)).

Like you, I did everything except the landing (because of cross-wind). Like you I recommend the experience to those who have not yet taken control of a plane.

My instructor said the same about me having used FG. He also said that, as I have been a driving instructor, I understood the need to use the controls smoothly.

Just reading your explanation brought it all back. Must do it again soon.
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Re: Trip Report: On the stick!

Postby sim » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:29 am

Well done Gijs! Nice story. You wrote--->
The instructor said he was impressed by my flying skills and he had time to enjoy the view more than with other "first-time-flyers". I told him that I used FlightGear for virtual flights and he said that he could really see the difference with people who had not used a flightsim.

Absolutely agree!
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