“You have to go down to 350 feet for the flyby,” I reminded gently. “I am not going any lower“, pat came the response while Grace stayed steady at 400 feet. “We’ll be disqualified if we are not at or below 200 feet for the flyby,” I said a trifle forcefully.
It has been 4 months and 8 days since my last flight. The first time ever that I let such a long gap between my flights happen. It is good to be back in the air and in control!
Over the last decade I have had a total of 5 flight reviews. Each had it’s unique flavor to it. For, each CFI has his or her own style. Each different, yet a good experience. While some might consider it a waste of time or wish to go through with it quickly and at minimum cost, I have always enjoyed a detailed flight review. After all safety begins with the pilot and I always want to be sure I am staying sharp and safe.
“Aircraft arriving over Lake Parker, expect holding until 7:15 pm over Lake Parker,” was what we heard on the radio a few minutes after our planned group departure from Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) in Leesburg, Florida.
Four aircraft from the Mid-Atlantic had made it easily, albeit, at different times to our chosen airport of rendezvous. Considering the aircraft in play: a Columbia 400, a twin Baron, a Cessna 182 and a Cessna 172, we definitely needed a rally point to meet, prepare, and plan a departure to Sun ‘n Fun (SNF).
According to our original plan, we had all congregated at KLEE, briefed the arrival procedures and departed on cue around 6:00pm. The plan was to arrive at Lakeland Airport around 6:30pm for a group arrival.
Being the slowest aircraft of all, a Cessna 172, we had departed last. Hearing the SNF radio communications, Linda and I, pondered our options…
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.
It was a cold winter day- sunny, but cold. The preflight briefer warned that it was going to be clear, but cold, with headwinds all the way up the Sacramento Valley. Lower is better he reiterated. Decision time was nearing. Go or no go? It has been so long since I had flown alone, I racked my brain to remember when last I had flown solo. Since getting my instrument rating, I have always had another pilot along, so I could fly an approach and stay instrument current. This flight though had to be done solo.
Okay I agree I am way behind on the bandwagon… But I have not been flying as often as I would like to, the last year or two.
After my visit to California last time (see Hanger Walk Anyone?), I came away excited and enthusiastic to invest in a new iPad and ForeFlight for iPad. But the iPad I had was wifi only and so all I used it for was pre-flight planning for almost a year.
I saw Stratus in action a few months ago on a $500 hamburger run with fellow 99s and friends Pat and Linda. We dodged clouds and traversed the VFR corridor through the DC SFRA. Wow! I thought, I need to get me one of those!
“First will be xxxx aircraft, then John in xxxx will follow on and next will be…” continued Bob from our flight school, who had planned the whole flyout to the last minute detail.
I wondered how in the world we were going to keep the order straight leave alone spot the aircraft in front of us. Countless times ATC gives traffic warnings routinely. Only on a rare occasion am I ever able to spot the traffic. Often, I rely on ATC to tell me that I was clear of the traffic or to provide me deviations to avoid the traffic.
Maybe it will all work out, I thought.
Being on a C172 and in no hurry to exit the Hudson river corridor, I and my passengers opted to fly second last.
It’s funny how the mind plays tricks. Two days prior to our monthly dc99s flyout to Bay Bridge (W29) Airport, I found out that the aircraft I had reserved had one NAV/COMM inoperable. Since I intended to fly in VMC anyway and my destination was a mere 100 nm miles away, I said not a problem. This close to the flyout date I would be hard pressed to find a replacement aircraft considering the gorgeous weather forecast for the weekend. Moreover, I had been preparing the aircraft to be only partially loaded to enable extra passenger weight.