What is the term that describes when one’s mind loops around a particular thought or idea? When each night you fall asleep thinking about it and wake in the morning still thinking about it… obsession?

I’m obsessed. And given that you’re reading this, perhaps we have something in common. My last flying lesson was back in May 2018 and I can state without exaggeration that I’ve thought about and visualised myself flying every day since that last lesson.

During those lessons I managed to fly my first solo in an Evektor SportStar SL, on a subsequent lesson doing six solo circuits over a busy Aldinga Aerodrome. Back on land, I was shagged from the concentration and workload fitting in with other aircraft and adjusting to variable winds close to the ground. I loved it and felt proud for doing well.

However, establishing a new business at that time required careful balancing of funds, which excluded flying lessons… and I hadn’t yet got to passenger or cross-country endorsements, always my ultimate goal to obtain so I can take my wife, Miriam, on adventures with me. That itch is still strong.

Fast forward to April 2022 — with the kitty replenished and space created in my weekly schedule, I booked lessons at my home base in Aldinga, where seeing familiar friendly faces helped me feel relaxed. On the line there’s a tasty new low-wing Evektor Harmony LS with a Garmin G3X glass panel, plus steam gauges to help with our flying.

Given the time away from the cockpit, I knew I would again begin from first base, reviewing my understanding and memory of the critical speeds like take off, climb, stall and the relevant radio calls.

With external inspection and pre-flight checklists completed, instructor Adam rolled us away from runway 21, headed for the training area offshore from Aldinga Beach. The view through the large clear canopy of the South Australian coastline, 3,500 feet below the Harmony’s wing, was breathtaking — a bright, white sand strip meandering between the sparkling blue of the ocean on one side and lush dark green of the Aldinga scrub on the other.

Once at altitude, we went through the effects of control surfaces, straight and level flying, gentle turns, orbits left and right, and stalls. The Harmony handled it with ease, predictably dropping the nose when the stick was all the way back, and a simple releasing of the stick saw the plane regain speed and level attitude. Easy and reassuring.

As I’d hoped, there was enough of a “getting back on the bicycle” feel about it – look around, relax, stay loose and just do the thing I know to do. Thankfully, Adam was patient and not overly ‘picky’ – he saw a degree of competence and gave me time to detect when we were flying out of balance or getting too slow, and to correct it. Make no mistake, a few times he corrected or took over when appropriate, but he was very calm and reassuring.

Heading home after the air work, I made all radio calls — apart from a more complex call coordinating with a Cessna Caravan in our sights, so we could come in behind it in circuit. I followed Adam on the stick and pedals as he did a touch-and-go landing. We climbed and I attempted the second landing, which was just ‘okay’, with a touch of Adam’s input. There’s some way to go before reaching the comfort level and finesse I’d built up on those solo circuits I did years ago.

Back in the flight office, I noticed I wasn’t ‘brain mushed’, like my early flying lessons. I was able to drive for over an hour, heading home, without stopping for a nanna nap by the roadside.

I booked a second lesson the following day, and another two for the following week. I’ll continue feeding the obsession!