Experience a Discovery Flight over the City of Edmonton
– Jason Migadel, Former CLA Instructor, Now Regional Pilot
Many pilots today begin their journey in the skies with a simple Discovery Flight
The thought of spending a significant portion of your life traversing across the globe from the air consumes an individual. I too, a young boy, grew up thrilled by the thought of one day becoming a pilot. Every pilot has their own story of how they became obsessed with aviation, but for most, the first step to making those dreams become a reality, begins with a simple Discovery Flight.
The beauty of a Discovery Flight is it gives the individual interested in becoming a pilot, a first look into the world of aviation. Many of us pilots remember making the first trek out to the local/regional airport, finding a spot to park the car and wait and watch as planes passed overhead. Beautiful day outside; light winds and sunny skies. It was the thought of soon to be flying in one of the planes that crossed overhead that brought nervousness, yet also extreme excitement.
A Discovery Flight starts out with an introduction to a CLA Flight Instructor, an individual that has a passion for teaching and is also working to advance his/her career. The Instructor will provide a brief summary of what will occur throughout the next hour, including what the flight will cover. If you have already determined that flight training is what you’d like to pursue, our Flight Instructors will incorporate aspects of lesson 1 into the flight! The hours from the Discovery Flight will then go directly into your logbook!
The aircraft utilized are typically common training aircraft utilized by flight schools around the world. Two of the most popular and common aircraft include Cessna 150’s and Cessna 172’s. Cooking Lake Aviation utilizes one of it’s 4 Cessna 172’s to conduct it’s Discovery Flight’s. The 172 is known as the most successful aircraft in history and the most popular single engine aircraft ever built.
Beginning with a walk around of the aircraft the Flight Instructor will explain the basic control surfaces of the 172 aircraft, along with answer any questions you may have. Many people who experience a flight on an 172 aircraft have never flown on an aircraft quite this size. As a result, the various initial reactions we as Flight Instructors receive as to the size of the aircraft are priceless. At the end of the day it is a training aircraft, but very capable and reliable of doing it’s job efficiently and effectively. We would like to know your first and initial reaction to the aircraft you would spend many hours training in, that being the Cessna 172! Feel free to comment below!
Once the walk around and pre flight duties are complete it’s time to jump into the aircraft and go flying! A Discovery Flight is designed to allow those who are interested in flying to experience flight from the left seat of an airplane. As a result, you’re in the Captains seat, and the Flight Instructor will sit to your right. The Instructor will demonstrate the necessary communication required with ATC and traffic to get the aircraft airborne, as well as talk through the takeoff itself.
Once airborne, you will take control of the aircraft and go through some of the basic in flight attitudes. Introductions will be made into simple aircraft attitudes such as climbing (nose up) and descending (nose down), banking or turning an aircraft, as well as cruising, otherwise known as straight and level flying. The reality is, is that although these attitudes are simple, they are the basics of flying, and every flight is made up of each of these aspects.
Next a demonstration into the maneuvers of an aircraft including Pitch, Roll & Yaw. Each maneuver will be demonstrated and explained when to utilize based on what phase of flight you are in. All 3 maneuvers are done with the control column as well as the foot pedals. It surprises many people with just how touchy the controls are, and a common mistake is to over correct your movements, or be too aggressive. As Instructors, we will teach you to make your control inputs smoothly, and this starts right from the start with a Discovery Flight!
At Cooking Lake Aviation, we leave the best for last. A big part of the Discovery Flight is not only an introduction into flying an aircraft, but we also ensure you have a great view from above! It is a decision that we let our students make. Depart west and experience a flight over the City of Edmonton, or depart east and experience the Alberta prairies with a eagles view of the various prairie fields, lakes & marshes; a true rural Alberta experience!
Just to give you an idea, here are a couple photos as to what a typical Discovery Flight view would look like:
City of Edmonton
It isn’t until you experience and take some photos of the beautiful view from the aircraft that it is time to prepare for landing, the most complex yet rewarding part of the flight! The Instructor will demonstrate the procedure for both the approach and landing. Every landing is well thought out. From communication with ATC and other aircraft to setting the aircraft up for landing, planning is key. What makes you a skilled pilot is staying ahead of the aircraft and always planning ahead, adjusting to whatever is thrown your way! You will see for yourself what is required to ensure the aircraft is placed on the ground safely, ensuring you’ve had a great Disco experience!
In summary, Discovery Flights cover the following basis:
- Aircraft Familiarization
- Takeoff & Landing
- Climbing and Descending
- Attitudes of Flight
- Pitch, Roll & Yaw
- How to Communicate With Other Aircraft & Air Traffic Controllers
Lastly, a Discovery Flight is also a great way to get a feel for the local flight school you may eventually complete your training with. It is a great way to experience the culture of the school, interact with both the Instructors as well as the dispatchers. Also, one can easily meet other students who are currently working towards their license. It is a time to as questions and gather all the information you need in order to decide on a Flight School of your choice!
Every pilot, from recreational & private pilots to career commercial pilots begin their flying with a Discovery Flight. It opens the doors to new opportunities, new friends, new mentors and ultimately a new career or hobby you are passionate about!
If you have already taken a Discovery Flight, let us know about your experience and comment below!