We have been planning a special way to get my wife involved in flying with me and an opportunity for her to see what my training is like. So a few weeks ago I asked my instructor if we would be able to take a Cessna 172 out for the day and let my wife fly in the back. Fortunately, Jeff was very cool with this so over the next few flying sessions we discussed various options of where to go.
This also gave me the chance to fly a different airplane. I normally train in a Cessna 152. Since it only seats two people, I would have to checkout a Cessna 172 from the club I belong to. There is a significant cost between the two airplanes. I pay $52 an hour for the 152 I fly each week. This includes fuel. For the 172 I pay $73 an hour. I’m on a tight budget as it is for flying- I don’t think I can afford to do this very often. But this wa a special situation so I was willing to pay extra. I had budgeted myself for 2 hours of flight time and 3 hours of instructor time. I figured for aircraft and instructor this would run me about $250. Still, this would be a good experience for my wife as well as giving me a chance to try something different.
The club has two C-172s for use and our original plane wa booked for 1030 am. I wasn’t real keen on flying during the heat of the day. So when I woke up on Sunday morning- I checked the schedule through an on-line program we use in the club. I couldn’t believe it- One of the 172’s was available all day! So I booked it for 9 am, called my instructor to make sure he could go earlier and left for the airfield immediately.
Now our 172 is quite different from our 152. I had printed off a checklist earlier in the week and knew I would have some questions for Jeff when he got to the hangar. I was still able to preflight the aircraft including checking the fuel quantity as well as draining the sumps to check for contamination.
After Jeff talked me through some of the differences, we gave Melissa a passenger briefing, boarded the aircraft and went through our start up procedure.
As we began our taxi to the runway, I immediately noticed a difference in handling. The 172 requires a bit more assertiveness than my 152.
As soon as we completed the run-up we headed out to the active runway – put in full throttle and started our adventure.
We took our time flying around the south practice area, allowing me to get an idea of the 172’s characteristics.
Our point of interest was to fly to the main airport in Boise. This is class C airspace so we have to contact Air Traffic Control to both fly in the airspace as well as getting set up on landing instructions. The ATC operator provided us with a squak identification on the transponder so they would know which aircraft we were. The controller then vectored us to different heading while under her control as well as telling us about other aircraft in the area. The ATC also cleared us to land on the left runway at Boise for a Touch and Go.
Landing the 172 was a challenge for me. I have gotten so used to the characteristics of the smaller plane I fly. I felt like I was landing a bus. There was also a crosswind to fight so this added to the challenge. We got the plane down- and I admit I had a lot of help from Jeff, did our touch and go, and headed for downtown.
We performed our touch and go and she vectored us to a point we could turn and head towards the area we wanted to go. Melissa got some great shots of downtown. Jeff worked with me on understanding the calls that were coming from the air traffic controller and setting up our vectoring path.
Something I noticed right away is that while I can hear the controller, I could not always hear the other aircraft. That is because the controller actually broadcast on several frequencies. This made it clear that I want to make sure that I’m not transmitting over anyone else.
After flying over downtown, we headed back towards the Snake River which gave Melissa a birds eye view of the areas we often 4×4 in. We also did two power-on stalls with her and she loved it.
With over an hour of flight time we headed back for the Nampa airfield where we entered the downwind part of the pattern at a 45 degree angle and again I got to take a shot at landing the aircraft. I had about a 12 kt wind so again I was challenged in getting the plane down.
It was a good day. Melissa had a blast flying with me and I had a chance to try a new aircraft and learn about working in class C airspace.
Flight Time: 1.5 Hours
Total Time to Date: 12.7
Total Landings: 43