The school I was enrolled in was having financial difficulties of late, and in order to help it survive I, like other pilots, had agreed to prepay for a block of hours. Unfortunately, in the middle of the summer, the school announced that it would be closing. So I basically set to burn through as much of my prepaid hours as I could before they would be lost forever.

It was a beautiful summer day, 26 degrees celcius, in an overheated DA20-C1. The cabin was overheating because of the bright sun on the bubble canopy. My instructor and I couldn’t wait to get higher as the air is colder as you gain altitude. Unbeknownst to the instructor and myself, another student had taken the DA20-C1 for a joyride earlier that day, because as soon as we took off, I immediately saw that the attitude indicator was indicating a right turn, and I started taking corrective action before realizing that looking outside the airplane I could see that the horizon was horizontal and we were flying straight and level. So I deducted that the attitude indicator was tipped and not to be trusted. We ended the flight without further drama.

Still, that’s one of the several reasons I want to purchase an airplane of my own. You never know what cowboy manoeuver the last renter pulled and if he bent the landing gear or overstressed the airframe he will probably not tell the owner of the airplane. So, even with a torough preflight inspection, you are never sure of what hidden problem may lie in the engine or airframe.