Winter wings

Youth in front of a Cessna 150 in the winter
Being delayed by less than ideal weather conditions last month was a bit of a drag for my son, but he did get behind the controls of a Cessna 150 just a few days later than expected. This was his third flight in about 18 months (the schedule will be much more regular now that he’s halfway through ground school) and boy, has he grown. He’s really shot up since his first flight two summers ago.

Young boy walking across a runway with his flight instructor

Amazingly, at 5’6″ he still needs a cushion for his seat when he flies the Cessna 150 – the seat is fixed in terms of height and it’s geared for taller pilots, so he’s been advised to bring a favourite cushion whenever he has a flight booked! I have a feeling this won’t last too long as this boy looks set to grow…

Flying in the winter is unpredictable and having his first flight at his new “homebase” for flying was probably a good thing. It’s not unlikely that every flight he plans this winter could get bumped and need rescheduling. All of the other students at his flight school are adults and many are retired, so rescheduling for many of them isn’t a big deal. But when you’re 13 and at school all day in the dark winter months, leaving only weekends for booking a flight, it gets tricky. The upside to taking ground school is that he understands all of the weather factors affecting flight conditions, so it won’t seem capricious or unfair – just frustrating!

The timing for enrolling in ground school and amping up his flight activity was not accidental; this boy starts his first proper part time job, with a regular income, this winter. We’ve already worked out that he’ll be able to afford one flight a month and have a bit of money left over for savings and pocket money. A proper flight lesson that includes time preparing on the ground and about an hour in the sky rings it at just shy of $200, so this isn’t a pasttime for any but the most serious about aviation. We figure that he’s paying for his own post-secondary schooling now, as it looks more and more as though he’ll want to pursue a life in aviation, so we’re comfortable with him spending most of his earnings in this way.

We’re figuring this one out very much as we go along, and I must say it’s a lot of fun.

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