My youngest son loves to fly. Not only that, he actually enjoys it when you are getting bounced around. We haven’t been in what I would consider severe turbulence, and I hope to avoid it if at all possible, but we have been in moderate where I saw his bottom bouncing off the seat cushion and I made him tighten his seat belt, it didn’t even phase him.
We went flying once where I let him take the yoke, but he couldn’t see over the panel so it wasn’t that exciting for him. Since we got him the cushion all we have done is cross country and there isn’t much for him to do. He would keep asking if he could help fly, but when you are just flying a heading and trying to maintain an altitude it doesn’t hold much of a “fun factor” compared to maneuvers.
This evening we finally had some spare time to just go out and fly. The clouds at home looked threatening, but they were hung up on the hills and east of the Santa Ana Pass where the airport and practice area are, the skies were clear.
He was excited as we did the pre-flight.
Son: “Am I going to get to land it?”
Me: “A couple reasons, there is a lot to learn before you are trying that, and I’m not a CFI with training on how to help you do that.”
We took off on 25 from Corona and headed south-east along the foothills before turning east for the Lake Matthews practice area. Once we were close I let him take over and started giving him instructions on what altitude he was aiming for and what direction to go. His legs aren’t long enough yet to touch the rudder pedals with his seat cushion so I kept my feet on them and kept the ball centered. I kept my hands lightly on the yoke as we made our first pass around the lake but by the time we were on our second lap he was doing all the flying with just a little nudge here and there on the yoke by me.
After the second trip around the lake I had him head back over town and then turn south toward lake Elsinore. The sun had gone down which made it easy for him to fly along I-15 heading south. Once near Lake Elsinore I had him turn us back towards Corona. (It was getting late and it was a school night so I figured I should probably get him home and to bed at a fairly respectable time… He would have wanted to keep flying for hours…)
Once we were about 13 miles south of the airport I told him that I had the plane again. The winds were blowing steady, straight down 25 which made for a nice landing.
On the way home we talked about the flight.
Me: “You know that after the first time around the lake I didn’t hardly touch the yoke at all.”
Me: “Yep, that was all you.”
Son: “That’s cool.”
That about sums up my feelings when I was able to take the controls of a plane the first time. I think we may have a future pilot on our hands.
You can see our flight and the sections that he flew in the screen shot.