Most pilots out there become so comfortable in the flying environment that they have forgotten what it was like the first time they pulled up to the airfield about to step completely out of their comfort zone. It can be daunting, amplified by a busy atmosphere, the noise of piston engines and generally having no idea what to expect, or what is expected of you.
So what can you expect? Here is a countdown of our top 5, and hopefully by reading this it might take away some of those ‘first day at school’ nerves.
5) There is no expectation on you.
Not from your flying instructor anyway! It’s natural to hope you might be good at something, but this is new to you so don’t put any pressure on yourself to ‘do well’. The first lesson is very much about learning how it feels to be in the air, at the pilot’s seat, and with the controls in your hands. You can be as hands-on as you like, but if you want to go ‘hands-off’ for a moment to take in the views then that’s fine, after all that’s what we are all there for, and soon you will be able to do both!
4) You will learn about the machine you will fly.
There can be a lot to take in on the first lesson, and while us flight instructors don’t want to overwhelm you with new terminology and what appears, at first anyway, to be long checklists and stringent procedures, you will be shown a few bits and pieces behind the panels. By pointing out some of the interesting and key components that make the helicopter fly, this adds some context to what you are about to see happen and do for yourself.
3) You will find out what each control does.
A trial helicopter lesson, as it is commonly known, includes an element of understanding the effects of each control. An understanding of the effects of the helicopter controls forms the foundation of all flying, and so we will take the time we need to ensure this is embedded before moving on. The aim is to be able to manipulate each of the controls, and see the effects take place before we eventually go on to use them for a particular goal, such as being able to change speed, climb, descend, and even hover.
2) You will quickly become comfortable with the environment.
Some airfields can be busy, intimidating, noisy places, and while we have always put much thought into our business location to ensure it strikes the right balance for our customers both in terms of accessibility and ease of learning, we understand it may still seem a bit intense. Don’t panic, after your initial nerves have passed it is surprising how quickly you will become accustomed to the procedures and dare we say that in a few lesson’s time you might even try some light radio work yourself.
1) Expect to want to come again.
Flying can be a little addictive, and while you will learn a lot on your first helicopter lesson, there is so much more to learn. You will be eager to find out more, to practise and see how far you can take it. Of course, most of our student pilots want to achieve their private pilot’s licence, some want to go all the way and start a new career, but whatever your reason, expect to want to do it all over again!