Jason Smart had always wondered what it would be like to fly a small aircraft, and had been fascinated by flight from a young age.
After a terrifying flight in a friend’s microlight aircraft, he decided to take a taster flying lesson in a ‘larger’ Cessna light aircraft. Despite the overwhelming unfamiliarity of the experience, he was hooked and went on to complete his training and gain his Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL).
He decided to write down his experiences in this new book, Take Your Wings and Fly – A Journey Through a Private Pilot’s Licence, to help inspire (and perhaps pacify) others who are learning to fly, or have already gained their licence.
Written in a diary style, Jason takes the reader through the realities of learning to fly. From the confusing jargon, the thrills of first solos, and the points where nothing seems to click, to the exams, the days the weather cancels flying, the language of ATC, and the final test.
Here’s a sample where Jason struggles with the subtleties of landings…
Day 19. Thursday 15 August
Lesson 16: Circuit Bashing #6
The weather was good. Up we went into the circuit. After a few landings,
James told me I would be doing the landing completely unaided.
My approach was good, considering the crosswind, but my landing was
disastrous. In the flare, James took control at the last second to avoid a nasty liaison with the runway. We went around again.
On the next go, everything was fine until just over the runway threshold. I
still couldn’t judge how much to pull back on the yoke. Also just to add to my
woes I found it hard keeping the aircraft straight.
“C’mon… more right rudder!” James shouted. “And more back pressure
on the yoke!” And then we’d bumped down with a crunch. Up we went once more.
Yesterday, I read the average student took between 12-15 hours to go solo.
I was now at 16 hours and felt ages away from even considering going up by
myself. I couldn’t even land. After we’d parked up, I questioned James about it,
deciding to broach the subject tactfully and diplomatically.
“So am I shit at landing or what?”
The book is hugely entertaining, and goes on to cover Jason’s flying after gaining his licence, which is a great inspiration for those who have already gained their wings. Follow him on trips to other airfields and see how his skills develop.
Take Your Wings and Fly is available now on Amazon.