From the right seat


It was one of those days when nothing was working in my favor. Have you experienced one of those days when you feel more like a spectator and things appear beyond your control? When you want to protest or butt in and say that is not what I want to do or how I want to do it? Or realize just a tad bit late that was the wrong thing to do? I was determined to not let the day’s somberness pull me down. After all every cloud has a silver lining.

So when Mike offered the greatest show in the world, I jumped at the chance to ride right seat in the Baron down the Hudson river corridor southbound past the Alpine Tower, GW Bridge, Intrepid, The Clock, Circle the Statue of Liberty, VZ bridge, and back home to DC at night. New York city was resplendent as always with lights turned on all over the city. The Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building stood majestic as always lit up to brighten anyone’s day. If seeing New York from 1100ft during the day was awe inspiring, seeing it in all its glory at night left us breathless. It was one of the coldest days of the season, but the air was clear and crisp in the night sky. With very light traffic flying the corridor that time of the night, we flew in complete contentment enjoying the splendor of the New York skyline at night.

The Baron has a single yoke. Mike had completely replaced the avionics with the latest moving map GPS, a G1000 equivalent PFD and MFD, and  terrain avoidance system. Once we crossed NANCI intersection, he transferred the yoke towards the right and said “It’s all yours”. It was first time I was flying in a multi-engine aircraft. Period. And here I was in the right seat, given this incredible opportunity to fly it. After some initial hiccups with over correcting for altitude, I finally mastered the light touch required to fly level (somewhat) and maintain course which had been too easy due to the smooth air.

With the flight plan already programmed in the GPS, the flight back tracking the heading was a breeze. It was amazing that flying the twin felt no different that flying a C172. Too soon we reached Hagerstown the aircraft’s homebase. Mike deftly took control and flew the ILS back in and touched down with barely a whisper. Wow!

Pilots are a whole different breed of humans. I have met some of the kindest, helpful and thoughtful pilots where ever I have gone.  Some of my best friends are pilots. Definitely we speak the same language. Thanks Mike for adding that silver lining to my very dark cloud!

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