Learn to Fly Starter Package – So what’s it all about?
I must admit, having been a Travel Agent for several years prior to working at Soar Aviation, I thought I was all over aeroplanes and Piloting – the whole shebang. Within my first few days at Soar, I realised this was definitely not the case though. Upon learning this, the obvious course of action was to panic and wonder how on earth I’d manage to market something I knew little about.
Light bulb moment:
I must learn to fly.
Well…the basics anyway. I wanted to feel the need for speed. I wanted to slide into the pilot’s seat and take control of a plane. I had to give flying a go.
The idea of actually controlling an aircraft myself – instead of simply observing – thrilled me, enough so that I began looking around at where to start. But that’s the one-million-dollar question: where do I start?!
I did always have an intrigue but like most people, the main thing holding me back was my want to hold onto both of my kidneys. Everyone knew that flight training would cost a small fortune. But I definitely knew I had to give it my best shot, so when I came across the Learn to Fly Starter Package with Soar, it all seemed so perfect. Three lessons, three hours of flying instruction, pre-flight briefings, flight defriefs, with all hours flown logged and accruing towards my license – all for $599? I snaked a freebie having worked here, but for anyone starting out – Yes please!
After spending a few excited, but sleepless nights waiting, I donned my old-school aviators and rolled into the Soar Aviation office – thoughts of hardcore flight instructors marching me out onto the tarmac for an hour of aerobics and discipline training filled my head. Fortunately, the team at Soar were much more professional than that and managed my outrageous expectations very well. They even let me wear my aviators!
The instructor for my first lesson was Alex. Once we’d covered basic control theory, the real fun began: we stepped into a bright yellow A-22 Foxbat. Naturally, being my favourite colour, I loved the Soar fleet instantly.You know what they say about having fun and time flying? When you’re high in the sky in the cockpit of a Foxbat, it’s an understatement.
During the next hour, Alex taught me all the basics: from how the aircraft behaves in the air, speeds up, climbs and descends, to how to read the controls, altitude, airspeed – the list goes on.But the most exciting part was yet to come. I could never have imagined the thrill of taking the control stick and actually flying an aeroplane for the first time. I was speechless. You feel everything as your movements and directions ebb through the controls – it’s exhilarating.Knowing that I had two more lessons to go made the conclusion of this first one less bittersweet.
Take it from me: your first lesson will never be your last.
My second lesson was with Koushik. Being a week after my first flight, I got stuck straight into further skills, like the basic concept of Straight and Level flight, without having to recap. But the best was yet to come, when I got even more hands-on time in the cockpit. Under my complete control, I was able to maintain altitude, execute mild climbs and descends, and even a few turns. My heart had never pumped so fast! The only time I let the controls go once in the air was to take a few happy snaps of the beautiful Melbourne CBD as we flew over. It was breathtaking.
My third lesson was with Eddy, who maintained the professional and friendly standards I’d become accustomed to with Soar Aviation instructors. He even lent me his beret for our flight. Prior to this, whether or not he had hair underneath was an urban legend at Soar. Just kidding, Ed! Together we looked at the different theories behind various ways of climbing and descending, depending on factors like runway length and obstacles. I also learned the three types of climbs – best angle, best rate and cruise climb – and the altitudes required to set and hold to achieve each one. Just when I thought my training couldn’t get any more enjoyable and exciting, it did.
I was now beginning to understand the terminology the pilots were throwing around and starting to get a feel for the aircraft and its mobility. No more just sitting there, smiling and nodding in agreement.
I could have just as easily just gone through and done a Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) to start my aviation journey, but our CEO Neel knew the Learn to Fly Starter Package (LTF) would give me a better opportunity to progress and learn skills over several lessons. This would 100% have put me in better position when deciding to continue on and pursue my Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) – unfortunately no time for me at the moment as I’m busy booking everyone else in with the aircraft!
This turned out to be the right decision though. Being able to compound the knowledge and skills I gained during each lesson of the Starter Package helped me retain that ever-so-important information in preparation for working at a Flying School – I know what all our wonderful Clients and Pilots are rambling on about to one another (most of the time!). And I know it definitely would be advantageous for future lessons.
Not only is the Starter Package incredibly affordable, it also gave me good insight as to what to our Students should expect during pilot flight training. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll become the next Maverick.