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.

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

 

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.