Learning to fly
CNN's Quest takes to the controls of a plane
From CNN's Richard Quest
Learning to fly takes time. As well as flying, there's theory about thrust, drag and the principles of flight.
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(CNN) -- It's many a man's fantasy and many a man's greatest fear. For me, it was a lifelong ambition about to come true.
I have left the passenger seat where I have spent so many hours and moved to the front of the plane to take my first flying lesson.
I have come to Fairoaks Flight Centre in Surrey, England. My stomach is in a knot, and I haven't even boarded the plane. I am here to attempt my P.P.L. or private pilot's license.
Learning to fly is a complicated business. Phil Brooks is my flying instructor for my first six hours' of lessons.
It takes a minimum of 45 hours in the air before you can take your private pilot's license.
I was only nibbling -- so much to learn, so much to remember, so much to take in.
And actual flying is only part of the business. I have to learn about the plane itself, and make sure everything is flying fit.
Then there's all that theory about thrust, drag and the principles of flight. It all takes time.
People often choose to get their private pilot's license by doing longer courses all in one go.
Sunny Florida, Australia and South Africa are all popular for flying students and costs vary hugely. In the United Kingdom, it costs about $16,000 to learn to fly. It would be half that price in Florida, where getting your license in a month is possible -- but not necessarily desirable.
I am learning to fly from and airport that's within a 20-mile radius of two of the busiest international airports in the world: London Heathrow and London Gatwick.
All around me are jets departing from Heathrow -- the world's busiest international airport -- but it's perfectly safe and they are all at a much higher altitude, but nonetheless it's a bit unnerving at first.
I can tell you that even though I've flown hundreds of thousands of miles, my hands are clammy, I can feel my heart beating faster. This is supposed to be fun, but I'm not sure it is at the moment. It's all got a horrible air of reality.
By the end of my third hour I am really enjoying this. I'm learning the radio call signs and preparing for my big moment, my first take off.
To be honest, it was a bit wobbly. I'm sure any passengers in first class would have lost their Champagne. But we are in the air. I have another 40 hours to go before I am a proper pilot -- at least I am flying.
-- Business International airs on CNN International on Saturday, April 15. For show times click here.
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