The following story was shared by Ted Luebbers, EAA Chapter 534 P.I.O., who provided a few details about this young flight student who is taking flying lessons at Leesburg International Airport: Sixteen-year-old Emily is from Fruitland Park and a charter member of EAA Chapter 534’s Aviation Youth program, now called Squadron 534.
She completed Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course, which was given to her because she took part in EAA’s Young Eagle program. After completing the course, Sporty’s Pilot Shop gave her a voucher for one hour of dual flight instruction, which did not completely cover the cost at her local airport. When this was discovered by some Chapter 534 members, individuals made up the difference, and she was able to take her first lesson. This has now morphed into a grassroots movement within the chapter to keep her flying. Members so far have donated enough for six hours of dual instruction. We hope to be able to keep this going!
On June 9, I had a flight lesson with a certified flight instructor. I have always dreamed of having flight lessons, ever since I decided that I wanted to be a missionary pilot. I never thought I would have a few lessons this summer, but the Lord’s timing is not always mine. When I finished the Sporty’s Learn to Fly course, I got a voucher for a free flight lesson. It seemed that the Lord was opening the door for me to pursue flight training.
When my mom and I arrived at the airport for my first flight lesson, we met my flight instructor. He and I went over a few things before we went to preflight the airplane. The airplane was a white and orange Cessna 152, and its tail number was N6021F. I read out loud everything that was on the preflight checklist, and the instructor went over with me what it all meant.
Once our preflight checklist was finished, the instructor, Spencer, let me taxi to the runway.
Once we were cleared for takeoff, the instructor briefed me on the basics of taking off, and he allowed me to take off. We flew to the west and Spencer had me practice some turns. He corrected me on what I did wrong, and each time I tried to get better.
We also went to different altitudes, and Spencer taught me how I needed to either add or decrease power whenever I went to a higher altitude or a lower altitude. Another thing that Spencer taught me was that a good pilot flies with three fingers; otherwise you will be constantly adjusting the controls. He told me that most student pilots are aggressive with the controls when they start out. That made me feel a little better.
The instructor also demonstrated positive g’s and negative g’s. After practicing straight and level flight, and coordinated turns, we headed back to the airport to do some touch-and-go landings. On the first landing, the instructor told me what we were going to do and that he was going to do the landings because the landings are the hardest part of flying. On the second touch-and-go, the instructor had me fly the traffic pattern. While we landed the second time, the instructor allowed me to have my hands on the controls so I could feel what he was doing and sort of do the landing with him.
Sadly, the saying “time flies when you are having fun” came true, and unfortunately my first flight lesson had to come to an end. Although it seemed like we were in the air for only maybe 30 minutes, we were actually flying for an hour. Once we were on the ground and parked, my instructor taught me the knots to use when tying down the airplane. I am very glad that I was able to have my first flight lesson and that it was a positive experience. It only made me feel more passionate about learning to fly. I can’t wait till I can continue my learning with more flight lessons.