I recently co-piloted my first airplane, a Cessna 152 aerobat aircraft at Jandakot Airport in Perth. And it was awesome.
Looking for a unique experience to do in Perth? Have the need, the need for speed? (ha, had to go there).
At Jandakot Airport (15km south of Perth City) the Royal Aero Club WA offers thrill-seekers and aviation enthusiasts alike to co-pilot a Cessna 152 aircraft for 30 minutes. The overall flying lesson is 45 minutes, with approximately 25 minutes theory and pre-flight briefing included. This Trial Introductory Flight is actually considered to be your very first entry into your Pilot Log Book should you ever choose to continue to fly.
Short History of the Cessna 152:
The Cessna 152 is an American two-seat, fixed tricycle gear, general aviation aeroplane, used primarily for flight training and personal use. It was first delivered in 1977 as the 1978 model year, the 152 was a modernisation of the proven Cessna 150 design.
A great majority of 152s were built at the Cessna Factory in Wichita, Kansas and a number of aircraft were also built by Reims Aviation of France and given the designation F152/FA152. Production of the 152 ended in 1985 when Cessna ended production of all their light aircraft and by that time, a total of 7,584 examples of the 152 (including A152 and FA152 Aerobat aerobatic variants) had been built worldwide. There are currently 13 in fleet at Jandakot Airport and Murray Field Airport in Perth, Western Australia.
Many Cessna’ 152s are in service today. No new aircrafts produced have been able to surpass the stability and reliability of the Cessna 152 as the ultimate training aircraft.
Characteristics & Performance:
- Crew: 1 pilot
- Capacity: 1 passenger
- Length: 24 ft 1 in (7.3m)
- Wingspan: 33 ft 4 in (10.2m)
- Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.6m)
- Empty weight: 490kg
- Max. takeoff weight: 757kg
- Powerplant: 1 x Lycoming 0-235-L2C flat-4 engine, 110 hp (82 Kw) driving a 69-inch (175cm), two-blade, fixed-pitch McCauley propeller.
- Maximum speed: 110 knots, 204 km/h
- Cruise speed: 107 knots, 198 km/h
- Stall speed: 43 knots, 79 km/h, unpowered, flaps down
- Range: 414 nm, 768 km
*This information is provided as a guide only and not intended to replace the Pilot’s Operating Handbook. The Pilot in Command should always cross check the POH of the aircraft they intend to use prior to flight.
As I like to keep spontaneous and always had an interest in flying – I thought a trial flight was a great way to get a sample taste of aviation in a Cessna 152 and I wasn’t disappointed, it was exhilarating and it exceeded my expectations.
My initial first lesson got rescheduled last minute due to a change in bad weather (which hey, I didn’t complain about because I’d like to survive my first lesson) so I was in full anticipation and nerves when I arrived. First I had to go through a pre-flight briefing, where the instructor explained the aircraft controls and outlined the fundamentals of piloting a light aircraft. Then I waited in the seating room until the aircraft and pilot was ready for me before I boarded into the passenger seat.
He took me through what all the buttons and switches did at the start, got me comfortable before starting the ignition (like it was a car) and guided me into assisting for take-off.
We flew around Rottnest Island, with him letting me fly the plane on my own for a brief moment – teaching me how to keep the nose of the aircraft up (it’s not as hard as I thought it’d be).
Taking the controls, I was nervous but he taught me how to keep the aircraft balanced by watching the ‘nose’ of it.
At that moment I had complete control over the Cessna 152 over Rottnest Island.
Thankfully, the pilot took over so I could take a rest from my nerves and I enjoyed taking in the beautiful, scenic views of Rottnest Island.
Did you know there is a giant ROTTNEST name on the island that can be seen from the sky?
While over Rottnest Island, I was thoroughly enjoying myself taking photos when the pilot enthusiastically asked if I wanted him to show off the aerobatic tricks the Cessna 152 can do. I hesitated, but conceded, as I wanted to get the full experience of the capabilities of this renowned aircraft. After following orders to strap myself in and put loose objects away, what followed was probably the most intense 30 seconds of my life where I tried not to vomit upside down. He flew the Cessna in fast, 360 degree circles, and sharp turns and although impressed afterwards, at the time I was pretty air-sick. In positive summary, I did not vomit upside down.
On our way back, the pilot asked me to report back to Aircraft Controllers to voice our coordinates and return which was fun. Approach… Charlie….Foxtrot…
The pilot let me take controls and experience flight, not just watch him do it. He was passionate and encouraging, and I felt safe and secure the whole time. Absolutely loved the experience!
Important Information to Know:
- Minimum age of 13 years for all participants with a maximum weight of 115kg
- Dress code includes closed in shoes and sunglasses.
- You will fly one on one with your instructor
- Weather restrictions apply. They will not fly in the event of rain, low cloud or strong winds. It is advised you call the day of the flight to check conditions. On the day, should the flight not be possible, they will reschedule your booking for a later date like they did with mine.
- Cancellation policy: Bookings cancelled with less than 24 hours notice or with no notice at all, will be forfeited.
- Participant name and address is required by law. This flight record will be the first entry to go towards a full pilot’s license if you wish to pursue a pilot training program.
This trail flight isn’t just a joy flight, it’s considered your first lesson that goes towards a full pilot’s license if you wished to pursue a pilot training program. For what it’s worth, it’s a great intro into flying in general.
See if you have what it takes. Visit the Royal Areo Club of Western Australia website for more information.
Have you given flying a go? Let me know how you went in the comments below.