Taking My Family Flying
Responsibility is something that sneaks up on you as you go through life. I never went looking for it and it snuck up on me while I wasn't looking. Above all else, I am responsible for the financial security of my wife and 2 1/2yr old son and in more subtle ways for their safety, health and happiness. This sits well with me and I am proud to support them.
Being responsible for their safety has never been more in my mind than when doing the walkaround inspection of the Piper Archer before my lesson a couple of weeks ago. As soon as I was finished I invited them aboard the aeroplane and showed them how to strap into the back seats. After sitting him on a booster cushion, I carefully placed an almost comically oversized headset on my son, showed my wife how it worked and then set about the pre-engine start checklist with my instructor.
At this point I had the clearest vision of why I'm so keen to get qualified - to share the experience as much as I can - and it was an opportunity to get them comfortable with flying in a small aircraft. If they don't take to flying then potentially my chances to use this not yet achieved licence will markedly decrease.
Off we went to do the lesson. This wasn't a simple sightseeing flight and my instructor worked me hard doing exercises I haven't done before. All the while my family sat patiently in the back, enjoying the Maryland countryside. We turned for home and once we were back at the T-hangars I had the chance to find out how they got on. "Fine, it was fun", said my wife, though she told me that my son was just on the cusp of having enough of being strapped into his seat as we turned to come home. "Did you have fun?" I asked him as we sat him in the front seat before we pushed the aeroplane back into the hangar. "I want to take off." came the answer. "Well, how about: you do steering while we do pushing?"
As he happily steered with the control column, we carefully placed the aircraft back in the hangar using the towbar to steer the nosewheel.
So now my son tells me regularly of the time he drove the aeroplane into the garage and asks when we'll go flying with Daddy and Mr Dave (my instructor) in Daddy's airplane. I hate to disappoint the young lad so I'd better get on and get my training done.
Responsibility means that I will take the greatest care in preparing for flying with my family and I will concentrate on making my skills and experience all they should be when carrying my most precious of passengers.
I just I won't tell him that I actually only rent the plane.