How to Fly

There's nothing to this airplane flying; anybody can do it. Just go on out to the airport and get your hands on a set of airplane keys. Usually they're nice enough to write the airplane's license number on the key tag.

Here's how to fly an airplane in 10 easy steps:

  1. Untie the ropes that keep the airplane from flying off on it's own; make sure that there is gas in the tank; count all of its things and make sure that it has two of everything it should have two of and one each of everything else.

  2. Get in and put the key in the ignition. Find a wheel labeled "ELEVATOR TRIM" and turn it so the little needle next to it is dead centered. (That's important. You're likely to get killed if you skip that.) Move the big red knob called "MIXTURE" all the way forward and the big black knob called "THROTTLE" forward about half an inch. Find the little knob that says "PRIMER" and turn it until you can pull it out. Move it in and out slow, about four times, finishing with a push - then turn it a quarter turn so it stays in.

  3. Step on the brakes (they're hooked up to the tops of the two pedals by your feet). Look for a red switch labeled "MASTER" and flip it on. You'll probably hear some things start to hum. Turn the key so the propeller goes round and round. When the motor starts, move the throttle so it's turning pretty well but not too fast. (If you know what a tachometer is, then 1,000 rpm's is good.)

  4. See the steering-wheel thingy? Make sure you can turn it and pull it and push it. If there's a hook or latch or something holding it still, undo that. Then don't pay it no mind -- on the ground you steer this thing with your feet. Slide your feet down off the brakes and steer by pushing on the lower parts of those pedals. Look around for an orange cloth tube on a pole. That's a "wind sock". You want to drive down to the end of the runway that the narrow end of the orange thing points toward. (Don't be nervous if you are weaving back and forth a lot. It takes a while to get the hang of steering with your feet.)

  5. When you get down by the end of the runway, look around to make sure nobody is coming down to land on it. If the coast is clear, drive out to the middle of the runway and line 'er up with the centerline. Just like at the drag races!

  6. Now look at the two rows of gages right in front of you. The three in the bottom row ain't important. The top left one is the speedometer and the top right one tells you how high up you are. (Turn the knob under that one 'til the big white hand is pointing to zero.)

  7. OK, here we go. Push the black knob (the "THROTTLE", remember?) all the way forward and get your feet off the brakes. Remember at first to steer with your feet, until she gets going pretty good - say, until the speedometer says 45 or so. Then the steering wheel starts working. Keep her on the white stripes and when the speedometer gets to about 70 then REAL GENTLY pull back on the steering wheel A LITTLE! She ought to pick her nose up and start to fly!

  8. Now, don't do nothing sudden! You can adjust what the speedometer says by pushing and pulling GENTLY on the steering wheel. (If you pull hard the airplane will stop in the sky and fall down and you will die, OK?) Kind of keep one eye on that how-high-am-I gage and when the white hand makes one whole trip around ease forward on the steering wheel so the nose comes down and you're going along level. And pull back on the throttle until the noise doesn't hurt your ears any more.

  9. Now you want to hold the steering wheel back (or maybe push a bit forward) so that the how-high-am-I gage holds still. You want the speedometer to be around 80 or 90. If you have to pull back kind of hard, then push in some on the throttle for more power. Or the opposite. When you can, turn the steering wheel a little. In either direction, it don't matter. Don't let the airplane tip too much. She'll turn in a big circle. Try to keep an eye on the runway and turn until you are going alongside of it in the opposite direction from the way you took off. When you get far enough along so you are next to the far end of the runway wait a few more seconds then pull back on the throttle so it gets pretty quiet. The airplane is going to start down and you need to let it, but don't let the speedometer go below about 70. Turn the steering wheel like you did before to start turning toward the runway.

  10. OK, show time! Look for the runway while you're turning and try and get the airplane lined up right in front of it then stop turning. Pick out something on the runway like those big white numbers painted there, to aim at. Now watch those numbers. If they start to move up, push the throttle in some and if they start to move down pull the throttle out some. Use the steering wheel, push a little or pull a little, to keep the speedometer about 70. You may have to point the airplane a little bit kitty-wampus to take care of the wind if it isn't coming straight at you. When you get real low, as you get to the end of the runway, pull the throttle all the way back and JUST before you go splang into the runway pull back smooth-like on the steering wheel so the big wheels hit first. (Don't worry if it thumps pretty good or squeals some getting straightened out. It's hell for stout!) Remember to steer with your feet as the speedometer goes below 40. Oh, yeah - BRAKES!

That's it! Pull the big red knob all the way back (that'll stop the motor), turn the key off, open the door and RUN LIKE HELL!

Created: Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Last Modified: 8/26/2010
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