Melissa’s Training Log – Entry 1

As our first scholarship winner earns her wings, we will post periodic updates from her log book. Here is her fisrt entry.

I have so much to tell you guys, and so much to share with you! Since June, I have been really busy and crazy in life with the move to Texas, and all the chaos that goes with it– new schools for my kids, finding a new house, and getting a great new job- It’s been a little overwhelming at times! The holidays came upon us in a blur, and I’ve spent the last few weeks recovering from the initial move stress, and trying to get settled into a new place. Learning to fly has been on my mind constantly, with the promise of great new opportunities all around me! After searching and visiting several schools, I finally settled on Anderson Aviation for my flight training. Once I got the thumbs up approval from Lance, I started working out how I would continue to get enough practice and muscle memory in between lessons, knowing my busy life schedule would mean I couldn’t fly every day, or maybe even every week. I did some research, and got some feedback from some pilots that I know around setting up a very simple, basic flight simulator at home. I purchased a yoke, throttle set, and rudder pedals that all connect via USB to my computer, in conjunction with P3D flight simulation software- In all, I estimate about $350 for the controllers and software. I attached some pictures of my “simulator” here- not EXACTLY like a cockpit!! It’s more like a modified flight desk!

The P3D software is really fantastic! It has basic runway setups for almost every airport, so I can select the
one I’m training at to get a semi-realistic view to enhance my training. While the airport in the simulator doesn’t always have all the building structures, the runways are seemingly correct with headings and such. I have been practicing touch and go’s…. which are more of a touch and crash scenario at the moment…. but I’m getting better! The simulation controllers are set up very realistically, so I can adjust trim during flight, as well as use proper input on the yoke to control the ailerons and elevators, and the rudder pedals for the rudder as well. I use an old TV that my neighbors were selling at a yardsale, and connect my laptop to that for a bigger screen- but I could use just my laptop as well. It’s not fancy, but it works for me!

For ground school programs, I again researched and sought feedback from various pilots and eventually decided on King Schools– and I am SO happy I did! The program is very simple, which for me is good, because many of the concepts are brand new to me. The program provides various learning modalities- videos, and/or reading, to teach new concepts, and build on knowledge. The videos are great! Funny, even! Some reasons I chose King schools included the lifetime availability of the information- I can go back and watch, re-watch, and relearn or refresh the information for as long as I want or need. It is updated to keep current with changing FAA guidelines, so I know it’s going to give me accurate information. In addition, what I didn’t know, was that for IOS phone owners, they have an app for the program which syncs your training video locations; you can download the videos to watch off-line, or watch them with WiFi or cell signals. That means I can train while I wait in line at the DMV, or while having lunch at work, which is super convenient for me.

But what is most exciting that I wanted to share with you both is that I did my first flight today!! My instructor was really great, and very patient and thorough with me. I feel like I learned so much! He gave me a great app suggestion that has cloud clearances and weather at various airports, which I have now downloaded- it’s called AeroWeather. There was a low cloud ceiling this morning, but it came up to just
under 3K before 10am so we were able to get a flight in! I did my first take off!!! I loved it so much, and I was so excited! It was super cold out, and I couldn’t feel my toes at all, but I didn’t even realize it until I got back in my car! I’d love to be able to tell you what all we did in the air, but I was so in the zone, I couldn’t even tell you what direction we were heading! We went through the pre-flight checklists and such at length; it all made sense! I’ve been reading my FAA handbook, and watching the King School videos, and it was just so exciting to feel all of it come together- the simulation, the videos, the books, and there I was, at last, in a plane…. taking off!!! Woohoo!!!

It was really an amazing day for me! None of which would have been at all possible without you guys! So, thank you so much for giving me this incredible opportunity. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get started, but I’ve already signed up for lessons every Saturday and Sunday for the rest of the month!! I will take pictures next weekend of the airport and the area and share them with you too.”

We will look forward to bringing you the next chapter in Melissa’s aviation journey soon!