Real Answers from Real Pilots

Just had intro flight

Hello, I just had my intro flight and yes it was WOW!
I was also overwhelmed. Can anyone please tell me how they got over this initial feeling and also how difficult it was for you to acclimate to the flight computers, all the different voices over the headset. ect…

Looking for some sound experience and advice.

Mike

Michael,

Learning how to fly is not intuitive. I would be surprised if it wasn’t
overwhelming. Getting over that anxiety takes time and trust. By that I
mean trusting that the flight training system is designed to work. The only
way you’ll know is if you keep trying.

The main takeaway from an intro flight should spark excitement and
curiosity. If your experience was something other than that, then you need
to listen to those feelings and find a career that better suits you.

Acclimating to the systems and complex environment also comes with
experience and a lot of studying. You’ll have access to every resource
required to succeed, but keep in mind that a lot of the studying at ATP is
done independently. As for the flight lessons, those are designed to teach
you small amounts of material at a time. As you start getting more
comfortable, a good instructor will start loosening up the reigns to allow
you to make decisions on your own. At that point you’ll be able to “run the
show” while you’re instructor provides minimal instruction and prompting,
giving you the feeling that they aren’t even there.

Tory

2 Likes

While I was excited, I was also overwhelmed. The entire flight was a much different sensation than being on a commercial flight (roughly bi-weekly for me).

While I was excited to be in the air, I found myself drumming up tons of questions.

  1. Will navigating using the screen infront of me be challenging?
  2. Does one typically become more comfortable with the turbulence of a smaller aircraft? (I didn’t get sick or nauseous or anything, just curious)
  3. Should it be hard for me to understand ATC given how fast they talk?
  4. When speaking to Admissions at ATP, they mentioned I would have the chance to control the plane once leveled out, the instructor didn’t hand over controls at all. Is that concerning?
  5. Is the fact that I felt anxious about the new sensation of a smaller aircraft normal and do you typically get used to it?
  6. As a person who operates well on muscle memory (musician), will flying become a muscle memory thing/second nature?

Those are the questions I solidified by the time my flight was over. While I was in the air I had about 30 more, but narrowed them down.

  1. I think once you start flying more you will find using the G1000 pretty user friendly.
  2. I think also as you fly more, you will get more used to the bumps of turbulence.
  3. Talking to ATC will probably be tough at first but as long as you progress and try to talk to them little by little, you will pick it up. Just remember if you miss what they say, it never hurts to ask them to repeat themselves. (They work for YOU)
  4. Yeah, the intro flight is supposed to be your chance to have a little fun and experience controlling the plane, not sure why the instructor didnt let you.
  5. Again fly more will get you used to being in a small aircraft.
  6. I think so

Daniel,

What you experienced is fairly common. This is why I ALWAYS recommend people go for an intro flight before they do ANYTHING else with this career in mind. To be honest I’m always amazed at how people seem to be shocked by the fact they don’t feel perfectly at home and aren’t performing like a Blue Angel on Day 1. It’s nothing like flying in the back of a Boeing nor is it as simple as driving a car. Flying is hard and challenging and that’s why not everyone can or should be a pilot. To your questions:

  1. Yes. It’s very challenging (but much easier than old school conventional instruments). To believe you can just plop down in the seat of an airplane and assume it’s in some way it’s comparable to the instrument panel in your car is frankly just arrogant. It can be learned but it’s not simple.

  2. Some people do but some don’t. If it’s a question I recommend you take a few more flights before you decide it’s really something you can do.

  3. Again I’m not sure why you would expect to understand or be able to keep up with ATC communications. Yes they talk fast and they’re talking about things you know nothing about. Would you walk into an advanced masters class on quantum physics and expect to be able to keep up with no prior experience? Again it can be learned.

  4. That’s unusual unless of course the instructor sensed you were so completely overwhelmed and didn’t feel safe giving you the controls. I would ask?

  5. I think you made assumptions based on your previous experience are larger planes and quickly learned you were mistaken. Some people get used to it, others don’t. I’d try again.

  6. Flying is flying. It’s not playing music, it’s flying. That said if you do anything enough you’re bound to get better no I wouldn’t compare it to playing an instrument. I’ve been playing for years and yes playing is second nature and almost mindless. Flying is very different. It’s dynamic and the conditions are constantly changing. Wind, aircraft performance, weight and a bunch of other things all effect performance. Frets, strings, keys don’t move.

Adam

Hey guys, I went in for a second flight this past Saturday with a different instructor (no cost). He basically let me have the controls for most of the flight. He even had me co-control through the take off. He remarked that I did pretty well keeping it level with some mild coordinated turns and was able to follow a heading.

We did a few maneuvers…

We did a steep turn… mildly unsettling the first time you feel it. Overall not bad. HOWEVER, we also did a stall…

I didn’t get sick or anything, just really uncomfortable. After we came out of the stall and leveled out, I felt totally fine.

For the remainder of the day, I went through spells of self doubt regarding my ability to do handle it.

Here’s my question. How uncomfortable was your first stall? Is it normal to feel pretty anxious after your first one?

Daniel,

Highly uncomfortable and I still do not like doing them. This is totally normal, you will get used to it in time though.

Chris

They get easier the more you practice them but even then, I still hate doing them

Daniel,

This is exactly why CFIs shouldn’t do stalls during an intro flight. Intro flights should revolve around the fundamentals of flight, ie straight and level, climbs, turns, descents, power management, etc.

Don’t let your first experience bother you. It probably came to your surprise that you were about to do one which doesn’t help.

Tory

Guys!

These answers bring so much relief! I went through some serious internal conflicts after the stall. My wife even asked a pilot that she met while working the gates yesterday at DEN and he said the same thing.

I have to say, I like the way he prefaced the stall. I mentioned the idea of stalls.

Instructor: We can do one if you want…
Me: They sound pretty scary man… I don’t know…
Instructor: Ok, we don’t have to do one, let me show you something else instead… I’m gonna get up to 9K ft… do this, that, and this over here… (warning horn pitching up) ANNNNNNNNND… STALL!

After he asked, “So, how do you feel?
ME: I’m alright, I didn’t love whatever that was.
Instructor: Congrats man, that was a stall… you made it!”

It killed the anticipation which I believe eliminated a lot of the fear. Still hated it, but I like the way he distracted me and led my mind away from the idea. At this point I’m kind of happy we did it.

Ya, stalls always make me anxious too. but in the Private stage of training you will do alot of them so it makes them alot easier

Bad form. Sorry Daniel.