As mentioned before (see ‘Convergence‘), I booked myself a flying lesson in a microlight. This Thursday, the 4th of October, it all went ahead, having been postponed from the Tuesday due to gusty winds.

Above is a picture of me in the microlight just before take-off.

The lesson itself was very similar to the lesson I had in the Cessna at Lydd Airport almost exactly two years ago. The take-off was a bit bumpy, and again I went a little light-headed in the turbulence, but this time I found that I settled down and relaxed more as the flight went on. This could be down to the microlighting lesson being an hour compared to the 30 minutes I had in the Cessna. However, I am deriving a certain amount of encouragement from it as it makes me think that continued lessons might see this tension disappear in much the same way as the nerves that were present in my early driving lessons are now a distant memory.

I also found the controls a lot easier to handle during the period in which I was in sole control, and the limited number of instruments also made things clearer and easier to follow. Compare the two photos below, and you’ll see what I mean.

The Thruster microlight cockpit

Cessna 152 cockpit

The view was much better in the microlight too, and made for a slightly more enjoyable experience in that respect. At one point, we could see as far as Canary Wharf from 2,500 feet up in the Essex sky.

The main problem I had with this lesson was knowing whether or not the bumpy ride we had at times was due to the gusty breeze or my clumsy efforts with the controls. I was reassured that it was more likely to be the former, but I retain a lingering suspicion that the instructor was giving me the benefit of the doubt.

I think I will have another couple of lessons before making up my mind whether or not to pursue this seriously. It’s much cheaper than learning to fly a light aircraft, but then “much cheaper” is shorthand for £3,000 to learn rather than £10,000, so it is still a considerable amount of money to spend.


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