Road to the Right Seat 21 – Birthday Flight
Story series: Road to the Right Seat
We've all had a crazy childhood dream and mine was becoming an airline pilot. Many young people who aspire a flying career are unaware of the content of flight training and the preparations which are needed. On November 23rd, 2015 I started my ATPL(A) training. Time to realize my childhood dream. I'd like to take you along on an adventure and I'll happily answer all your questions on the way. Let's do this!
October 21st, 2016 – October 11th, 2008: my eleventh birthday. For the occasion, my parents took me to a local Airfield in Belgium for the start of a new tradition: a birthday flight! Eight years after that very first flight I’m in Arizona, but the tradition is continued!
Normally you would celebrate your birthday with friends and family, but this time I went out on my own. My very own birthday flight! The longest solo flight of our whole training, the qualifier. Three airports, 800 kilometers and almost five hours of flying to celebrate my 19th birthday.
The airplane looked great and the sky couldn’t be bluer. I took off during sunrise which offered an amazing view when flying close to the mountains. Waking up at 3 AM has its advantages!
My first stop was Ryan Field Airport, close to Tucson and a little over 200 kilometers South of Falcon Field. Like many other airports, it used to be a military base. Ryan Field is mostly used by the police, students pilots and general aviation.
Winds were quite strong when I landed, but everything was within limits and I was able to execute a safe landing. The airplane was refueled, I changed my charts and checked the airplane again. Not much later I was back on the runway and off to my next destination.
Goodyear Airport lies 40 kilometers West of Phoenix and used to be a military base just like Ryan. The airport sees many jets passing by due to the maintenance facility it has. It’s also used as a training base by CTC and Lufthansa. The whole valley is filled with student pilots!
Many years ago the airport was used by the Blue Angels, the first aerobatic demonstration team in the world. Fun fact: the hangar they used is said to be haunted and according to certain people there are ghosts wandering around the facility. Happy Halloween?
I took a quick bite in Goodyear before heading back to Falcon Field. The last stretch!
Back at base
After having flown almost five hours, I landed back at Falcon Field. It had been an exhausting and long morning, but what a great experience!
“Time flies, but I’m the pilot.”
On August 20th, I completed my last solo flight. A moment I’ll never forget. In the past two months, I’ve flown some circuits during the day and night and did many navigations in the Valley of the Sun.
Unforgettable experiences which I’ll carry with me for a very long time. Off to the next challenge!
If you have any further questions about my training, feel free to leave a comment below. See you next week!
This story is part of the series Road to the Right Seat