Saturday, August 27, 2005

First flight

Today I went to Norrköping to have a look at the flying club, see some people and sign up for the course. But first I started with a trip in the club's ultralight aircraft (that's the one in the picture). This aircraft, called Zephyr 200 C, is a quite modern version of an ultralight. The basic requirements of an ultralight aircraft is that it has at most two seats, has a low weight and a low stall speed.

The aircraft felt like a hybrid of a glider and a conventional light aircraft. You fly it with a control stick, which is similar to gliders (and fighter jets), but unlike most other conventional planes. What got me a little surprised is that you should use your left hand to grab the stick, and use the right hand for the throttle. This is the other way around compared to both gliders and fighters (my flying experience consists of a lot of gliding, some fighter jets (Simulated. We build those simulators at work.) and a couple of hours in Piper PA-28s.) It felt a bit awkward, but I got used to it after a short while.

Today's flights were more aimed to show people what it's like to fly. So it wasn't really any introductory flight lessons or anything. I may however log the time as part of my training. I did nevertheless got to do almost all flying and taxiing by myself. The flight instructor performed the take-off, and then handed back the controls to me. Obviously I still remembered how to fly a real aircraft.

I really enjoyed the trip. We were in the air for about 20 minutes and flew over the bay of Bråviken, which is really beautiful from the air (well, from the ground also). The weather was a bit windy today, with a lot of cumulus clouds which made the ride quite bumpy. This also meant that we had to keep the speed down a bit.

These aircraft have unexpectedly good performance. The maximum speed of this one is just a little more than 140 knots (260 km/h). And it's very fuel efficient, so you may go more than 1500 km away without landing. It takes off in something like 200 meters, and has a stall speed of just 35 knots.

The flight instructor was impressed by my flying (or at least that's what he told me). He believed that I could get the license in just a couple of months. We'll see about that. I suppose the ground classes will go on for more than that time, and I won't be able to take flying lessons every day.

The ground classes will start the next monday. I look forward to that, and i really look forward to commence with the flying lessons. I certainly hope that the authorities won't cause any problems. Formally, I am not allowed to start taking any flying lessons until I've got the "elevtillstånd" (flying lessons license, or whatever you may call it).

Total logged time: 0.5 hours (accumulated: 0.5 hours)
Total cost: SEK 300 (accumulated: SEK 300)


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