Two seats, side-by-side; a cruise speed of 107 knots; and a mainstay of student pilots and CFIs everywhere: it’s the Cessna 152!
I’m David Allen, and I’m about to take you into the cockpit … of Other People’s Airplanes!
As many of you know, this episode (the “pilot” episode, in fact) has been in the pipeline for a while. This has been a learning experience of epic proportions. I had to figure out how to mount cameras, what settings to use on those cameras, what shots to get, and how to get those shots.
Because this is only my first attempt, I have already found some mistakes and corrected those. I have also made other mistakes since the filming of this episode. So while the quality of this episode, and probably the first several, is not the greatest, I hope you will stick around as I bring you this in-cockpit aviation experience.
Perhaps the biggest mistake I made in this episode was forgetting to set the over-the-nose camera focus out to infinity. As a result, the Canon camera auto-focused on other things, like the cowl and the windscreen, leaving the sky and the ground blurry much of the time.
The rest of the cameras were GoPro HD Hero cameras. These cameras are, unfortunately, susceptible to an effect called “rolling shutter” or “jelly effect”. It is more visible during certain times in the episode, and far less in others.
I have also learned that a small piece of masking tape is all that is needed to hide a lapel mic inside my shirt. In future episodes, it should not be so “out there”, screaming “LOOK AT ME! I’M A LAPEL MIC!”
The airplane featured in this episode is a 1983 Cessna 152 II. The Cessna 152 just happens to be the first general aviation airplane in which I ever flew. At the age of 8, my father took me to what was then the Melbourne Regional Airport (now the Melbourne International Airport, KMLB) and strapped me into the right seat. That day, my father showed me why he loves flying.
Now I’m sharing my love of flying with you.
So why Cessna 152s and their little brothers, Cessna 150s, are a dime-a-dozen, it has some sentimental value to me. So I feel it fitting that it be the first airplane featured on the show.
And since it is my show, I can do stuff like that. Love!
Casey Allen, a CFI and CFII, preflighted the airplane while I set up cameras and got some of the ground shots … shot. Afterwards, we loaded up in the plane and started the engine. Since Casey is a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), he stuck me in the left seat. I happily obliged.
Casey taxied the plane to the end of runway 10 and performed the run-up and worked through the final before-takeoff checks. Then he asked me if I knew” how to do this”, this being the takeoff.
Now I am the first to say that I am not a pilot. I have never flown an airplane by myself, or been the unlikely passenger on a jetliner after the pilot and first officer “had the fish”. With that in mind, you should know that I have an extensive amount of flying experience. So when he asked me if I new how to do the takeoff, I answered, “Yep.” Of course Casey was there watching my every move, and he was ready to instruct me or assume control of the aircraft if it came to that.
Again, I am not a pilot, and I would probably bend the airplane if I had to do this on my own. If you want to learn to fly, please find an awesome flight instructor that you trust to teach you.
We took off from Valkaria, X59, on runway 10 with a straight-out departure. After climbing to 1,500 feet, we crossed over the barrier island and pushed about a half-mile offshore before turning northbound along the coast. After a few minutes, I turned west back toward the mainland, and then south along the mainland coast.
After a short hike south, a 180 turn to the north, and back to the airport. The gusty 45-degree crosswind made the landing, uhm, interesting. I ballooned a little (ground effect maybe? Nah) and Casey helped me keep the nose off just a little longer. She planted nicely on the runway and we taxied over to the fuel pumps for some 100LL.
All said and done, we only put 0.4 on the Hobbs meter.
A fun flight, and a great person with whom to fly.
I hope you’ll join me next time when I take you into the cockpit … of Other People’s Airplanes.
Follow me on Twitter: @DaveFlys