Stephen Limkin
Student Pilot & Film Maker


After a false start due to bad weather, I headed to the aerodrome ready to start my lesson with Joel. I was instantly struck by the smell of aviation fuel and the heat generated by the tarmac.

We begin with a pre-flight briefing on the effects of controls. I am like a dear caught in the headlights as Joel works to reconcile what I have been learning in my theory books with the practicalities of real flight.

I have a million thoughts running around in my head. Do I really want to do this? Will I have what it takes to become a pilot? What if something goes wrong? Not wanting to back down from the personal challenge I set myself to overcome my fear I decide I’m going to do it afraid until I don’t fear it anymore.

So out to the hanger we go and Joel takes me through the process of pre-flighting the aircraft. Soon we are ready to jump in and I begin my journey into the blue sky.

We taxi out to the runway, spin around at the end of the piano keys and line up the aircraft.  Joel makes a radio call before he tells me to go full power. He’s on the controls with me, but I have to learn how to fly the plane. “More Right rudder” he tells me as we barrel down the runway, “airspeed is live…T’s and P’s in the green…60 knots…rotation, separation” and we are off the ground. I gasp, that first feeling of leaving the ground makes my stomach turn as the sling makes it’s way off the tarmac and does what it was destined to do and soar into the sky.

From there we head out into the training area and Joel begins to teach me the fundamentals of flight and the effects of controls. It’s an amazing feeling. I love flying and it’s teaching me to overcome my fear of turbulence.

As Leonardo da Vinci said “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” Amen to that.