Leaving the nest ...

  • Posted on: 24 June 2006
  • By: Michelle

Well, I am moving up in the world of flight instructing: Yesterday I soloed my first student.

I had been well trained by the other instructors in the art of pacing the length of our tarmac, radio in hand, from one side of the building (to watch the downwind leg of the pattern) to the other side of the building (to hold my breath and wait for them to pop back into my sight as they make the turn from base to final).

It's very nice to watch your student taxi out to the runway for the first time, but there is a very small part of you that secretly hopes for some sort of mechanical trouble that keeps them on the ground and sends them straight back to the tie-downs; there is nothing in the world like watching your first student roll down the runway by himself for the first time and in one short second become airborne, your flight instructor license and entire aviation career rattling down the runway behind him.

On the other hand, there is also nothing in the world like watching them make a beautiful approach and set the bird down safely on the runway for the very first time, your flight instructor license and entire aviation career safely intact.

When I went back inside after four landings and the return of a live student and an airplane in one piece, the flight operations manager said to me "It's like having children, Michelle."

Maybe, except, if that was my kid, he'd have long been unenrolled from the aviation program and be sitting safely in the back of an accounting class. Who the hell lets their children do this kind of stuff?