I spent 20 minutes on ground instruction, which consisted of a guy putting a laminated picture of the controls in front of us and walking through what they do. Then it was off to the tarmac and the plane. We were flying a Cessna 172, which is a single engine, 4-seater. On the way out, I asked my pilot how long he'd been flying. He said "3 months" and then we all laughed as he was joking. He then said "No, just kidding. Two years." Which I gotta tell you wasn't that much better. But he was a nice guy.
So a few things about flying a Cessna....
- The plane is really simple. The controls are all knobs and the yoke. It's the essence of flight. No computers. The wind blows you left and you need to turn the yoke right to come back to your heading. I probably flew the plane as long as commercial pilots normally do, as they just turn knobs for the autopilot except for take off and landings
- These planes last a looong time. I saw the pilot manual and noticed that it was made in 1984. To put that in perspective, Justin Bieber's mother was 10 when this place rolled off the line.
- Wind is bad. In a large plane you fly through clouds and you imagine sitting on them, like some sort of angel from an 80's movie. In a Cessna, the cloud is not your friend and you end up bumping around a lot.
- Cessna's are not built for tall people.