Re-post: Night & Solo


Five Years Ago

“So, you are going to do it cold turkey?” asked Linda
“Yes, how hard can it be? I am going to be in the pattern…” responded I.

The last time I did a night flight (solo or otherwise) was 4 years and 10 months ago! While night flying can be fun, it is not a favorite time for me. Although with a good instructor  or co-pilot, I love to get the experience to do some night flying!

It was a picture perfect fall day: warm, clear (for now) and busy. Earlier in the afternoon, Linda and I had headed out to the practice area, so I could practice my commercial maneuvers while she played safety pilot. It was a busy Sunday afternoon. After some steep turns, chandelles, lazy eights and steep spirals, we had returned comfortably back to the airport.

An hour later, after the sun set and evening twilight was about to set, I hopped back in the aircraft for some pattern work to execute some night landings and edge my night solo time closer to that required for a commercial rating.

It was a partly cloudy, and the waning crescent moon was not visible. I had deliberately departed prior to the official start of night time, so I could adapt easily to the night conditions.  I looped around the pattern and decided to execute a touch and go for round one, as I adapted to night flying. Unfortunately calm winds meant runway 34R was in use, which meant right pattern!

Continue to read the original article here.

Words on Wednesdays: AvTech


November is NaNoWriMo

“Is Amelia, here?” I asked Anne at the front desk. “She asked me to meet her here.”

“You must be John,” she said, as she continued looking at her screen.

“Wait,” she said.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Amelia is not here. She is off in the field inspecting the avionics in one of the B737s, somewhere out there,” she vaguely pointed.

“Do you know when she will be back?” I asked.

“Maybe, maybe not” she responded absentmindedly.

“Do you like opera,” she asked after eons.

“What?” I asked in exasperation. What the devil is wrong with this woman?

“Are you seeing anyone?” she continued.

Before I could respond, the phone rang, and she was on the phone for a good ten minutes, talking secretive, absurd nothings. I was almost ready to give up and leave. What a strange group of people, I thought. How does Amelia manage to work with this weird bunch?

“How about Yanni?” asked the ridiculous woman interrupting my thoughts.

“What?” I asked stupidly. What does this have to do with Amelia I wondered?

“Can you let Amelia know, I was here? I will be at the Firehouse Grill,” I responded getting ready to walk out and leave this bizarre office.

I could hear strange sounds, as someone in the cubicle next to the front desk desperately controlled himself or herself.

“You must definitely like John Lennon. You seem the type,” continued the ridiculous woman.

“Yes, I like John Lennon.” I humored the woman.

This time, the person behind the cube, could not hold himself or herself any longer. I could hear unconstrained laughter. I walked around to see what the ruckus was, before Jane at the front desk could stop me.

Frank the assistant was doubled over laughing so uncontrollably that I was not sure what it was all about. Seeing me looking at him dumbfounded, Frank finally got his act together.

“Hi!” he said. “Amelia said you would come over at 11:30. Would you like to see how we prepare to return an aircraft to service?” he asked. “Amelia said you might,” before I could respond.

“Sure.” I said.

“Terrific, I am to bring you over so you can watch. It is pretty cool”.

As we walked over to the B737 undergoing checks, Frank made small talk. “Don’t mind Jane. She means well. She is just trying to figure out if your interests are similar to Amelia. You know she is a master matchmaker. She can’t stop herself.”

What? I thought. Yanni, Lennon, maybe Jane was not so stupid after all. I could forgive her if she was on my side. Was she?

“There, you are,” said Amelia. “We have been waiting for you. I thought you might like to see the process to return the aircraft to service. This is one of the first aircraft that has been scheduled to return to service.”

“Yes. I certainly would.” I said as Frank and I joined Amelia and Jack as they walked through the avionics checks.

It takes a full seven days to return an aircraft to service according to Amelia.

Although, what was foremost on my mind was whether I liked Yanni.

National Native American Heritage Month – Mary Golda Ross, Engineer — Transportation History


Mary Golda Ross was the first known Native American female engineer. She was born in the Oklahoma community of Park Hill in 1908. One of her great-grandfathers was John Ross, a longtime and widely renowned chief of the Cherokee Nation who helped guide his people through such tumultuous experiences as the Civil War and the […]

via National Native American Heritage Month – Mary Golda Ross, Engineer — Transportation History

Words on Wednesdays: For the Love of Amelia


November is NaNoWriMo

“I hear, you have a new Certified Flight Instructor.” said the sweetest, gentlest voice, I ever heard. “I’ve heard great things. I hear he is a great instructor, not like …” the voices faded,

“Yes, what of it, Amelia Mary Earhart? Are you ready to commit to lessons?” taunted Chung, loudly.

“You know it is not Earhart, but Aaronhart. Is he in?” persisted the sweet, gentle voice.

“Maybe,” replied Chung, irritatingly.

“Come on Chung, I want to talk to him, please,” begged the sweet, soft voice.

“For you anything, sweet Amelia Mary Earhart. Anything!” responded Chung.

After, what seemed ages, “John Francisco Adams!” barked Chung. “There’s someone here for you.”

“Hello.” I said as I turned around the corner as swiftly as I could. Being unemployed and in search of any student, I was desperate to get up in the air.

“I’m John. Are you looking for an instructor?”

“Hi, I am Amelia,” said the most beautiful, absolutely, breathtaking person I had ever come across in my entire life. I gazed  unabashedly, awestruck by what I saw. It felt surreal. This can’t be real?

“I am looking to get my private pilot license,” she said. “I work at AvTech, on the field” she pointing over her shoulder to a large hanger across from the flight school.

“When would you like to start? Have you ever flown in a small aircraft before?” I asked.

That was how I met the love of my life.  Although, it would take me almost two more years to get the courage to ask and commit.

Over the next few months, I taught Amelia to fly. It was almost towards the end of her flight instruction before her check ride, that I managed to find the courage to ask her out to coffee. We spent two hours laughing and talking, and then walked over to the diner for a burger and a pint.

Over the next few weeks, I trained Amelia and helped her obtain her private pilot certificate. Six months later, we were living together. Amelia was like a sunshine in my life, and I could not imagine my life without her. It happened so fast, that sometimes I wondered, if it was too good to be true.

Amelia worked at AvTech LLC. She had recently graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering from University of California in Los Angeles. AvTech was a unique organization. Since 2001 when the in aftermath of 911, the aviation industry had suffered immensely and airlines have gone out of business or retired their fleet, the graveyard came into being.  AvTech had one of the biggest graveyards of all in the Mohave Desert.

For me, I couldn’t imagine my life without Amelia.

Words on Wednesdays: Flypocalypse


Three years Ago

Early Saturday, a glitch in automation in the Washington DC area caused an “ATC Zero” in ZDC (Washington Center). Departures from all three airports: IAD, DCA and BWI were essentially in ground halt.

day2

This has caused untold inconvenience for people, visiting the DC area and hoping to return home. FlightAware posted a MiseryMap visually showing major airports around the country, affected by this glitch. For each of the major airports, the  delays by time  and  number of cancellations at each airport are listed.

This doesn’t even include the airport I am stuck at. So you can imagine how much more misery is being shared across the country 🙂  In fact, none of the news agencies have even started to talk about arrivals into DC area.

Continue to read here.

Words on Wednesdays: When Life was Simple


Soaring on Top of the World!

And I dream I’m an eagle
And I dream I can spread my wings
Flying high, high, I’m a bird in the sky
I’m an eagle that rides on the breeze
High, high, what a feeling to fly
Over mountains and forests and seas
And to go anywhere that I please

               — From the Eagles by ABBA

We took off under our own power and climbed in circling turns to about 12,500 ft. “Where are the thermals?” I had asked Bob as we prepared to take-off. “Over there, where the clouds are,” he responded. Once the engine settled down and cooled, he prepared to turn it off and closed the air  vents.

Five years ago today… Continue to read here.