After you start flying, you do a lot of looking down.
Life as a pilot shows you a great variety of views. I started flying in country where airport's elevations of over 5,000 ft are quite common, with minimum en route altitudes of 20,000 ft all over the charts.
Where I've been flying for the last number of years, we cruise around 15,000 ft regularly; If you tried to get over this mountain at that level, you wouldn't make it. Flatter is safer, but I miss the views.
I trained from an airport elevation of 4,000 ft amsl. There’s nothing like the early training days on a Cessna or a piper in my view.
The freedom of building hours flying visually as low as 500 agl (above ground level), doing ‘touch and go’s’, etc. You’ll get that again as a professional pilot. You’re always constrained by regulations, standard operating procedures and the dreaded ‘Flight data monitoring’; the digital black box which companies now download regularly to spy on you.
Even worse, if you fly a bigger plane they know what you’re doing in real time through ACARS. Like everything else; used for good, it enhances safety; conversely, it can -and does- get used to snoop on pilots.
I was thinking that it’s a shame those training days go by so quickly. We all want to get onto the bigger birds asap.
If you’re training right now, take it all in; enjoy. This may be the purest part of your career.
Copyright © Francisco Rebollo 2014