Here’s the thing about flying a plane:
It really not that hard at all……
Confession, I have always wanted to get to the point in a career where people gave me cars to test drive and review. Unfortunately I am not there yet, but when a friend says “hey want to go flying” you say yes.
A very good friend of mine is about to realize his dream by becoming a NOAA Officer where maybe one day he will get to be a hurricane hunter. But until then we had a Piper Warrior at our disposal.
(That Dash….closest I will ever get to a Vector….)
The Piper Warrior was recently listed in a list of one of the best planes to learn to fly in and I can see why. I always have had a large amount of respect for all of my friends, who are pilots, and I still do but I am also very surprised at the simplicity and easy at which you can control a plane.
Firstly, when taking the controls there is no need to fight anything, I always had this impression that without paying attention to what you are doing a plane will simply rise or fall on its own, but it doesn’t. Letting your hands off the controls means the aircraft simply cruises along at whatever altitude and speed you are at, much like a car which cruise control and a good alignment, it will just go straight.
Then there are the controls themselves. They are heavy but not overly so, what the yoke and rudder pedals reminded me of was a car that has older hydraulic steering versus the new super light electric steering found one newer vehicles. This allows for smooth changes in direction that takes more effort than one would expect, but this leads to a confidence that you don’t necessarily need to be gentle because it’s not going to just fall out of the sky to turn a bit to sharply.
Other than that it is very similar to a small sports car, hot somewhat noisy and a bit cramped, but that’s what I think draws me towards planes as well because I’m not just a car guy, I am a motoring enthusiast and planes have motors too.
I still have a massive amount of respect for the work that pilots do. However now that I have a greater understanding of what it is like I not only see why they enjoy it but I also think “hey if I ever have the spare cash I could probably do this too”.
Now, who has a boat they want to let me “test drive/sail” next.