After a rejuvenating Young Women in Engineering Event, meeting and networking with high school girls, I was reminded of what inspired me.
First posted in 2003.
From Fall of 2000. Enjoy!
Yes that is how every memory we make is.
Unforgettable by Lane Wallace is a book about flying. It is about Lane’s ten best flights. From the Swiss Alps to Key West, from Alaska to Sudan to Mexico and even to the edge of space.
Unforgettable is also about the passion and the joy of flying: be it in a piper cub, a U-2 space plane, a blimp or a Grumman Cheetah.
Unforgettable is also about the wonder of flying: the emotions that race through the authors mind as she experiences and explores the world.
Each experience is unique and unforgettable and provides valuable insights into life, living, the joy of flying and the incredible resilience and fortitude of the human race for survival and happiness. Ultimately you must feel it personally to experience any connection with the author’s view. If you are passionate about flying, and enjoy the simple joy of it, Unforgettable is a must read.
One fine October day, several years ago, I had the distinct pleasure to attend an event that left a tremendous impact on me. I had just soled and was flying my first cross country to Santa Barbara (SBA) with my flight instructor. As we landed after the cross country flight, my instructor had said:
“I have an extra ticket to the SLO99s banquet, do you want to go?”
“Sure”, I responded, even though I was excited and tired after our flight. Although I had heard about the 99s, in those days, as a future women pilot, I was not eligible for membership.
As I listened to the calm, quiet voice of Lane and her passionate exposition on the wonder and joy of flying, my own enthusiasm and passions were sharply awakened. Writing was something I had yearned to do since I was in high school. Here and now was a voice I could relate to. The emotions, the excitement and the passions that Lane described appeared so inline with my own views and passions about flying. That unforgettable day, rekindled the fires within me to write. In actuality my flying adventures are the fodder to my writing. Since that fateful day, I have devoured the Flying Magazine (i.e. until recently :-)). The first article I always read was Flying Lessons by Lane Wallace. More recently my copy of the Sport Aviation Magazine actually started to see some wear. Unfailingly, on the day I receive it, I swiftly open it to get my fill of Flying Lessons by Lane Wallace.
You can learn more about Lane by visiting her personal websites:
Pushing the limits
I rarely fly in IMC.
First off, not too many pilots I know want to fly in IMC. Second most of my flying is, for that coveted ham (veg) burger and there is rarely a need to set off in IMC conditions for that. So yeah, I know no one who wants to fly in IMC or through icing scenarios.
And yes, this was my first foray into icing conditions!
Sometimes, I set off with my favorite CFI (see Night and Actual ) or a favorite safety pilot (see Chasing Clouds )when the limits are reasonable for either an IFR flight in actual IMC or a VFR on top flight, or for shooting an approach at an airport with minimums much higher than necessary for a brand new IFR flight.
Occasionally, I fly with a friend of mine as a safety pilot. I am totally comfortable with his flying skills, so much so that I don’t even plan to adjust my seat position to be able to reach the rudder pedals.
That is how confident I am of his flying skills!
Did I mention that just after I became a private pilot, I learnt to fly from the right seat and land? I was flying with so many different pilots of different skills, that I wanted to learn to land from the right seat, if necessary.
This was one of those days, when the weather was iffy.
Ceiling at 3,900 ft and visibility at 3 miles. We discussed and perused the weather for a solid hour. Both of us were instrument current. After much discussion we departed with the plan to return if uncomfortable.
Maybe it was because I flew almost 28 hours recently in different weather conditions, over oceans, in IMC, conquered NEMO, strong winds and more. Or maybe it was because I knew I could land this baby if necessary from the right seat. Or maybe I had confidence in my friend to keep us safe. I was relaxed.
The snow was supposed to come later.
I quietly said, “I think, I see ice. It is hard to make out if it is raining or snowing”.
My friend took a peek and knew it was not good. He had turned on the pitot heat as added protection. “We need to return,” he said.
And I concurred.
Visibility was deteriorating rapidly.
“Potomac Approach,” he said, “We need to fly back IFR.”
With the approach plugged in, we were glad of our two iPads with Foreflight. With at least one Foreflight Pro iPad, we were assured of the geo-reference tracking.
What are your limits when flying in IMC?
Drop me a line…
Steve Rossiter is an ATP/CFII in both helicopters and fixed wing; flying two tours in Vietnam and two tours as an Army Instructor Pilot (one in helicopters and one in airplanes). He has been a CFI and professional pilot for over 50 years.
There is the old saw about getting your Private Pilot certificate, that it “is a ticket to learn,” meaning that you’ve just gotten the little slip of paper that lets you learn to be a better pilot. I totally buy that. I didn’t count on forgetting some of the things I learned, though. To get […]
Derby Day. Check-ride Anniversary. And most importantly the simply joy of flying!
May is always memorable. I got my Private Pilot Certificate. Three years later I got my Instrument rating.
“I hope we will be done by 3:00 pm, ” said Wanda, “I wan’t to watch the Kentucky Derby”
“I hope so too,” thought I. “With positive results.” For it was the day of my private pilot check-ride and I wanted to get home without a pink slip!
It was also Derby Day. And getting home to watch the race would be good too…
I did make it home in time to catch the race that day. That was 16 years ago!
As it happens, Derby day is tomorrow this year (5/6/2017).
Always Dreaming or Fast and Accurate?
Take your pick!
Five years ago…. although this happened many years before!
Soaring on top of the World
When Les asked me if I wanted to go flying that weekend, of course I jumped at the chance. Having never been in the air, I was excited and exhilarated at the prospect of being airborne. After all, wasn’t this my dream? To fly, to soar, and reach for the stars? Little did I think of thermals, lift and drag.
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Everyone knows that crosswind landings are usually challenging for student pilots. But beyond landings (and money!), there’s a lot about learning to fly that can be pretty tough. Here’s what you should be ready for. The 7 Hardest Parts About Becoming A Private Pilot By Swayne Martin Everyone knows that crosswind landings are usually challenging […]
Where is Goat Island?
For the last few years, I have been hoping to pull off a trip to Niagara Falls, NY to fly the awe-inspiring racetrack over the falls. The plan was multi-function: beat the summer crowds, enjoy fall colors, catch the fireworks and most important of all, catch a glimpse of the falls from a few thousand feet above the surface. Each October, I tried diligently to make the plans, got a few people excited, and unrelentingly, each year, brought gloom and disappointment. The weather refused to cooperate. Sometimes it was the weather in the Mid-Atlantic, other times, it was in Niagara Falls. Either way, plans canceled we flew close to home to Tangier Island, attended refresher classes or just stayed home to catch up on other activities.
Photograph: Courtesy Gert
This year, I was adamant I would try to make it in August when the weather would hopefully cooperate. Although, I got a few people excited as the day approached plans fizzled out with most people dropping off. I almost thought I would miss the opportunity this year too. But as luck would have it, my co-pilot could free up his Saturday and we decided to pull off a day trip!
The weekend weather was terrific: in the Mid Atlantic as well as at Niagara Falls and along the way. The shortest direct route would take us there in under 3 hours. Gert and I departed a few minutes past 8:00 am and bee lined north planning the most direct route. Flying in a C172 as usual, we decided to stop over at Akron airport (9G3) NE of Buffalo, for a quick stretch and cheap fuel before heading out to fly the falls racetrack.
Photograph: Courtesy Gert
There are special flight rules over the falls and it is best to review several documents that are available to pilots intending to fly over the falls. The area around the falls can be fairly congested with high speed military traffic, helicopters flying scenic flights, and other GA aircraft circling the falls. The minimum requirements to fly over the Falls are:
- Fly at or above 3,500 ft
- Use Niagara Falls (KIAG) altimeter setting
- Squawk 122.05, making traffic calls of location, and altitude and intentions. Monitor traffic and listen on this frequency
- Do not proceed north of Rainbow bridge
- Fly a clockwise pattern
- Do not exceed 130 knots
While the reference content contains some images of where to join the loop and how to fly the race track and how to exit the loop, and it looks good on paper, if you are new to the area, it can all becoming very confusing, very quickly. Even though, I have visited Niagara Falls several times via a road trip, it still made it difficult to identify land marks. There is no indication of how long the racetrack is or how to enter or exit it if flying from the US.
Flying from Akron is a direct flight. Contact Buffalo Aprroach on departure and obtain a squawk code and clearance through their Class C Airspace. About 20nm due west, flying a heading of 280 degrees, places you right over the Navy Island.
One entry point to join the race track is to fly a heading of 281. After flying over Navy Island, following over the Welland River all the way to the pointed nose tip will put one on the race track. Turning in bound on a heading of 051 degrees and flying all the way to the rainbow bridge which lies just north of the US observation deck that extends three quarters of the way over the Niagara River and turning around until a heading of 231 degrees in the out bound leg.
If flying to and from Niagara Falls Airport (KIAG), follow the direction of ATC. Departing 24, straight out will get you over the Niagara River quickly and you need to climb to 3,500ft quickly. Likewise, landing at KIAG after flying over the falls means you have to descend rapidly 🙂
After flying three loops, trying to perfect our racetrack and admiring the falls, wondering where the heck was Goat Island (:-)) we proceeded to land at KIAG, slipping hard and losing altitude and quite gracefully touch down and tied down for a few hours at the Falls. Tie down at CalSpan includes a landing and parking fee of $10. A cab to the falls can be any where from $20-$30 one way.
There are several restaurants within walking distance from the airport for that $100 hamburger. Or get to the falls for more choices. I suggest you stay away from the Niagara Falls Cafe at the Visitor Center if you can. Gert and I spent the next 2-3 hours exploring the views from the various lookout points before heading back to the airport and reversing our path back to the Mid Atlantic. It was a quiet evening, we even managed to get a clearance through Class Bravo airspace direct to HEF. All in all, a fantabulous day of flying!
Niagara, Check! Although I am sure I will be back 🙂
Note: Thanks to my co-pilot for the fabulous pictures. BTW, the right seat is the best location if you want to take the pictures your self 🙂