The First Brave Soul

I got my license to learn about noon on the 13th. (If you haven’t yet read about my checkride, do it now.) It was tempting to call some friends and take them flying that afternoon, but after several days of checkride prep, I needed a break. The next day a couple of us went to the opening day of the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland. I appreciated the airshow more than I would have before. The next day my friend went out of town to take flight instructor training.

I took my first passenger (also known as victim or crash test dummy) up tonight, a few days after getting my private pilot license, in the same 152 that I’d done used for most of my training. That’s not a plane built for tall people, but my 6’4″ tall friend somehow managed to fit himself into the right seat.

We took the scenic, coastal route to Venice (VNC). I mistimed the flight, since it was still daylight when we landed, and I had hoped to see some of the sunset over the Gulf. Instead, we saw it through the window of the Italian restaurant at the airport, where we had dinner.

It was completely dark when we left, the first time I’ve done a whole flight at night on my own. I knew the route back fairly well, so it didn’t bother me. I found having a passenger to be a big plus; even a non-pilot can help watch for traffic, navigate with a chart, listen for radio calls, etc.

We got back about 11, the first time I’ve returned to our airport after closing. (The airport itself doesn’t close, but the business that rents the planes, sells fuel, etc. does.) We tied the plane down in the grass.

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