Friday the 13th, unlucky for some, but not for me. At around 0800 I boarded a train at Manchester Piccadilly station bound for Newcastle. This was to be no normal visit home to see the friends and family. It was to fly again.
I arrived at the flying school to be greeted by many surprised faces. I humorously introduced myself to the team, although many of them are good friends of mine. The fact that I hadn't been through those doors with a flying case in my hand for over a year warranted it. "Where do you want to go?" Alastair (AB) asked in a casual tone, it very much appeared to me that I was merely picking up where I left off.
"Go and check India Foxtrot out, I'll be there in 5 minutes." I walked out of the hangar door onto the apron and towards the aircraft. I had first flown G-BUIF in 2006 as a treat for achieving good GCSE results. This was also my first ever flight toward my PPL. I felt it was somewhat fitting that my 'return to training' flight was carried out in this aircraft. It wasnt long before the knowledge and the emotion had came back to me.
The check was thorough and completley from memory, I barely had to think about it. After so many times of completing it it becomes second nature, so far so good. AB climbed aboard and we started up. "There's been a few changes to the ATC procedures here." This didnt bother me, although my first transmission received did catch me out, probably to be expected. AB answered the call and we started our taxi. A friendly pre take off catch up on our way to the runway was helping to settle me into the flight. I was comfortable but still wondering just how rusty I was going to be.
Take off clearance was issued instantly and we were off. Runway 25 for a left turn out towards Newcastle City Centre, around 2/3 minutes away. There were no problems with the take off, the flying was executed as if it was my third that day.
As expected, the flight was pretty laid back. The real lessons would start after this flight. It was more two friends having a catch up and a bit of a chin wag, I was loving every minute of it, it felt like what flying is all about. Great views, great company, great weather. I could have stayed up there for hours. I was flying with no difficulty at all, as if it was a matter of hours rather than months and years since I'd last been up there. They say you never forget how to ride a bicycle, flying is definitely the same.
A precautionary landing made up the closing section of the flight, most probably so we actually did something productive, another exercise (Ex. 17) for the logbook and the training record. 45 minutes later we were on the ground. My landing wasn't bad either!
It was a fantastic day for me, for enjoyment and also to see that my training received so far has really worked. The reminder of how much I actually enjoy being airborne was the strongest aspect. I don't care how I do it but this summer, I'll be flying... alot.