Solo flight

Today was a day that I had been looking forward to and afraid of at the same time. It was my first solo flight in nearly two years. Today was one of those picture perfect days in Western New York. The sky was clear, flight visibility was nearly unlimited and there was only a slight crosswind on Runway 22 at Olean Airport. I pre-flighted my aircraft, climbed in, primed, and it sputtered to life. I’ve been a fan of aviation since my father used to take me to local airports when I was a small boy. I taxied from the ramp to the end of Runway 22. Tears welled in my eyes as the Most High had granted me this day to test my skills. I was a little nervous not to have my mentor next to me, but as I rolled along the taxiway my spirits rose. Following my runup I made my radio calls to inform local traffic and brought the aircraft onto the main runway. I said a “Hail Mary” and asked for a safe flight. I slowly pushed the throttle forward and the Skyhawk rolled forward. I was picking up airspeed, 30 knots, 45 knots, 60 knots and rotation speed. I pulled gently back on the yoke and my Skyhawk slipped the surly bonds of earth. We were airborne, man and aircraft performing as one. A very light chop as I cleared 500 feet. I turned crosswind and then downwind and departed the pattern to the northwest. Level at 3500 feet I pointed the nose toward my hometown of Franklinville, New York. I brought my camera and snapped a few photos. Here is one of them. This is why general aviation pilots fly. We get a vantage enjoyed by few others. I thank God for the gift of piloting my own bird. Deo gratias.

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