Monday, September 3, 2012

On the Wings of an Eagle

150 Cessna-Sheva ApelbaumPreflight-Sheva Apelbaum

For the past couple of years, I have started thinking about going to the USNA. I have a particular interest in the Navy, especially the Navy Air. Ever since I saw aircraft carrier operations and their pilot’s amazing ability to take off and land on a dime, my dream has become to fly.

Just recently, my mom and dad told me that if I was serious about flying, they would look into it.  Last week, while driving over the weekend, my mom suddenly pulled into a parking lot in our town’s airport.  We got out of the car and walked into a small office on the outskirts of the runway.  When I asked my mom where we were going, she said that it was a surprise.  We entered the office and she and my father chatted with the gentleman behind the counter.  Before I could tell what was going on, I was seated in a briefing room prepping for my first flight!   To say that I was incredibly excited just doesn’t adequately capture how I felt.  After a pre-flight briefing and detailed explanations of the plane structure and operations, my instructor and I went outside to do the preflight inspection.

This inspection included:
1. A.R.R.O.W (Airworthiness Certificate, Radio Station License, Registration Certificate, Operating Limitations,Weight and Balance)
2. Parking Break
3. Control Wheel Lock
4. Ignition Switch
5. Avionics Master Switch
6. Master Switch
7. Fuel Quantity Indicators
8.  Lights
9. Pilot Tube Cover
10. Pilot Heat
11. Avionics Cooling Fan
12. Alternate Static Source Value
13. Annunciator Panel Switch
14. Fuel Selector Valve
15 Fuel Shutoff Valve
16. Flaps

US Marines Scout-Sheva Apelbaum

After we checked everything on the list, we continued to inspect the plane. Next was the fuel test to make sure there is no debris or water in it. Having a foreign object inside the fuel can make it dangerous because problems with the fuel can lead to engine stall. Finally after all of the inspections were done, we got into the plane, started the engine, and moved towards the runway.

We obtained permission from the tower and taxied down the runway. We stopped at the end and turned our nose towards the wind. Lights CHECK! Flaps—CHECK! Engine—ON! Throttle—ENGAGED! And then we were finally off! Up we went—500 feet, 1000 feet, 2000 feet. I took the wheel at about 2300 feet and climbed to 2600 on my own.  I leveled off and the plane was all mine.

150 Cessna Cockpit-Sheva Apelbaum

Seeing the world at 2600 feet is definitely an incredible experience. I often dream of flying, but this was better than any dream I have ever had.  In just an hour I flew the entire length of Long Island and across the Long Island Sound to Connecticut.  I got to execute some slow turns, use the pedals, and practice ascending and descending, and this was just my first try!

When we landed, I filled-in my log book and had it signed by my instructor.  As soon as I got into the car heading home, I wanted to go right back up. It was all I could think about during the day. I can’t wait until my next class when I will learn more advanced maneuvers.  My dad says I’ve got the “bug” and I agree. There was nothing more incredible than flying a plane on a clear day!

Pilot Logbook-Sheva Apelbaum

Dedicated to Neil Armstrong, who past away last month.

Neil A. Armstrong-Sheva Apelbaum

“Gliders, sailplanes, they're wonderful flying machines. It's the closest you can come to being a bird.”


  1. I'm much in admiration of you, Sheva. Learning to fly is one of those skills which requires total concentration and coordination of disparate ideas--spacial awareness, intuition, and a special je ne sais pas. What a magnificent passion!

    1. Thank you, Dawn! I love it and I can't wait to get back up in the air. I'm glad you enjoyed reading my post.

  2. Good luck with the flying course! =]

  3. How awesome to have a dream so big!!!!! It is wonderful that you are inspired and I can say you have truly found your passion that is great!!! I was in the Navy and worked in the avaiation field not flying planes (I am scared of heights)but it was truly amazing to meet female pilots, not alot out there, so it makes me very proud to see how interested you are in that and I just want to say to you: stay focused and you can achieve your dreams, hardwork and dedication do pay off!!!!

  4. Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement. What aviation related work did you do in the Navy? What type of pilots did you meet?

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  6. your awesome sheva!!!
    Lauren Porcelli