Words on Wednesdays: Chung


November is NaNoWriMo

“It’s time”

I revolted. “Now, ” I asked.

It can’t be. I thought desperately. How can it be now. It was still premature. I hadn’t seen anything or suspected anything to make me think a change was needed.

“He is highly erratic and uncontrollable. He has been saying things. Once he had a drink, he is beyond control.”

“It’s Nathan! Dammit! We were in Nam together…”, my voice petered out.

“Are you telling me you wont do it? Is this the time you are telling me that you are not capable of doing the things you promised?”

I had gotten myself into things far beyond me. I couldn’t do this to Nathan. All the visions we had as teenagers, about country, about the world, about freedom, and all the good we could do.

Nathan, who had saved my life. Who was going to save him now?

Monday Musings: Unable


Four years ago…

Miami Center, can we get direct Ft. Pierce,” I asked eying the ominous looking dark clouds at our 12 o’clock.
“Unable for the next 10 minutes. Maintain heading,” responded Miami Center.

We had departed Bimini, our final halt in the Bahamas before heading back to the States. It was cloudy and IMC along the Florida Coast and we had filed an IFR flight plan for the return.  Bimini is a mere 10nm miles from the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ ) and with luck, we had circled as we climbed to altitude and after multiple attempts, finally established radio contact with Miami Center. This was not only crucial since we were in-bound, crossing the ADIZ, but also because weather along our route was mostly IMC.

We proceeded as directed, continuing to watch the rapidly approaching weather system, straight ahead. When is the best time to tell the controller I am unable to follow his directive, I pondered. The system ahead looked turbulent and moisture laden. It is not fun heading into this mess in a Cessna 172. But I was also curious to see how it felt, how I would handle it, and understand my limits. Fortunately, just as we started penetrating the mess, Miami Center, cleared us direct to Ft. Pierce, so we could avoid the system.

Unable might seem like a taboo word, something you should never use or one you feel affronted to use since it admits a weakness of some sort or some such frivolous reason, but believe it or not it is the most effective word in your pilot lingo that might just save the day.

Continue to read here.

Fresh on Fridays: Niagara Falls


Two years ago finally flew over Niagara Falls

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Note: Some photographs courtesy my co-pilot Gert.

See Also:

Where is Goat Island?

Words on Wednesdays: Seems like yesterday


I almost missed this milestone.

This month marked two decades since my first intro flight when I officially began my flight instruction. Has it really been that long?

I still fondly and vividly remember that day like yesterday, when I flew my first solo.

Or that first cross country I made to King City, that made me nervous I would get lost. Or better yet that second  long cross-country to South County airport that required two go-arounds, to the ire of others in the traffic pattern.

Or the first foray to Bakersfield after getting my ticket and getting lost for dialing in the wrong VOR frequency and having a non-functioning transponder! How about that first ILS approach into Watsonville in actual  IMC after getting my instrument rating ?

Or that time I took my friend from college to Monterey and experienced my first instrument failure.

Or the long solo cross country to satisfy the requirements for commercial pilot license.

Or the uncomfortable attempts to achieve the minimum night time requirements, or flying night solo cold turkey or the single night solo cross country flight or later the single night and IFR flight.

Seems like yesterday 🙂

See Also:

Logging Memories I

Logging Memories II

Logging Memories III

Logging Memories IV

Logging Memories V

Logging Memories VI

 

Fresh on Fridays: Countdown to OSH#4


Wing Walking

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.

Fresh on Fridays: Countdown to OSH#1