May 15, 2019

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Ryan D’Agostino: How To Get Started In Flying.

Most flight schools and small aviation companies will charge you no more than a couple hundred dollars for a taste—usually an hour ride, with an instructor. You get to grab the controls for part of the time, zip around, maybe fly over your house. It’s usually called a discovery flight.

When you fly in a small aircraft at a low altitude, the sensation is not so much that the world below gets smaller. The overwhelming sensation is that the sky gets bigger. Bigger than you’ve ever seen it, even from some endless beach, or from out in the desert, or from out the multilayered polycarbonate window of a commercial airliner. The sky pulls you up and surrounds you—it feels as if all the blue is keeping you aloft. You feel it in a way you don’t on an oversold 10:45 from Chicago to Dallas.

I had the opportunity to go up in a Cirrus SR22 with my 11-year-old son and a pilot named Ivy McIver. Ivy has been with Cirrus most of her career, selling planes, flying them, evangelizing the very idea of personal flight. She is laid-back and cool, and before we left the ground—before we even climbed into the four-­person cabin—she demonstrated the entire irresistible attraction of learning to fly yourself in an airplane. Here is how she demonstrated that:

I said, “Where are we going today?” (We were starting out from Westchester County Airport, about 35 miles north of New York City.)

She said, “I thought we would go to an air show in Rhode Island first.” I said, “Great!”

She said, “After that, I don’t know . . . we could go to Maine?”

I’d like to fly, but I need another expensive hobby like a hole in the head.

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