Chris Findley, a flight instructor in the Nashville area and the founder of myFlightCoach.com, has written a great post for AOPA’s Let’s Go Flying blog about what you should expect on your first training flight. Chris began his post by saying that you should arrive a little early to take in the sights and sounds of the airport plus chat with your instructor who will also hopefully take a little bit of time to get to know you.
Once you head out to the airplane, Chris noted that if you are accustomed to airliners, a training aircraft will probably feel like a compact car with a pair of wings. The instructor will then do a “preflight” and depending upon how much discussion you have, this should take a bout 10 or 15 minutes.
Then you and your instructor will get into the aircraft and taxi to the runway and do one final check of the plane. After this, you will take-off and more than likely experience a little bit of turbulence. However and if you want to avoid this on your first couple of flights, it may be a good idea to schedule your training for early in the morning or early in the evening before it gets dark as the air will usually be smoother during these times.
Once you reach a safe altitude and are out of the airport vicinity, your instructor will probably let you fly to get a feel for the aircraft. And after about 20 minutes, you will head back to the airport. After you get into the traffic pattern, you will come in and make a landing. Chris noted that this is probably the most exciting and challenging part of the flight – even for long time pilots as landings are both an art and a science.
Once back on the ground, your instructor will then find out if you are really interested in flight training to earn a pilot’s license. And at this point, your flying career will have already begun.