I'm facing the decision of whether or not to continue flying.  Last Thursday I went up flying again for the first time since my surgery.  I did not enjoy it.  It was late in the afternoon so even straight and level flight was a constant battle against countless thermals.

I would prefer to fly early in the morning to avoid the thermals and it would make it easier to stay in the pattern at PDK for practice.  My current instructor has expressed reluctance to drive the long distance to the airport for an early flight.  To be fair, there has been no refusal, but it seems obvious that it would be out of the way and inconvenient.  After my last flight left me frustrated and $400 lighter (much of that just to get to the airport where I did two landings) I had to seriously consider hanging up my wings for good and selling off my gear.  Is it time to simply be done with my flying experience?  Should I savor the memories but let it fade into the past?

One problem with flying on a hot, sunny afternoon is that in a small plane you can feel the thermals pushing you up as you fly over blacktop.  This isn't a problem except that roads run perpendicular to the end of the runway at many small airports.  You try to push the plane down, the heat from the road pushes you up, you have to compensate.

On top of that, PDK is busy in the afternoon and hanging around in the pattern to do touch and gos would be seen as gauche.  One student pilot who had done it told me that the tower "gave [him] all kinds of crazy instructions" to make way for jets coming and going.  Flying out to another small airport is easy enough, but even the close ones are about an hour round trip in the air.  At current prices with an instructor, that is about $200 just to get to the place you want to practice.  For that kind of money, I'd just drive to smaller airport and rent a plane there!

Yesterday, I went and investigated another flight school, PDK Flight Academy, and I was impressed.  For about the same money, they have aircraft that are much newer and the instrumentation is more modern.  They also have several instructors working part time.  The one I spoke with lives a few minutes from the airport and had no issues with early morning lessons.  On an intangible level, I also just kinda liked the guy.  I decided that before I give it up, I owe it to myself to try again on my terms: flying in the morning and staying local to PDK.  If that works out, I can rent the same planes for a few days to fly off on my own!

This morning around 6:30 I stopped by PDK on the way to work.  (I know, that's ridiculously early for me but I'm willing to change.)  Over about 20 minutes, the only traffic I saw was one jet as it took off.  I can deal with that.

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