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    Adventures in Flying

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Flying in the Real World.........

Up for another three hour session on New Year’s Eve. Soft field and Short Field landings. Soft is pretty obvious – get out the grass and mud as soon as you can. Pop her into the air as soon as you can – then wheelbarrow her down the runway a few feet off the ground in ground effect till she gets up enough airspeed. Short is different. You do a mad amount of math about air pressure prevailing at the altitude you are at in the prevailing temperature and humidity.

Solo........

KSFZ - North Central
KSFZ - North Central

I’ve been watching the weather like a hawk all week.  In among the winter fronts and gusts there is possibly going to be a quiet, clear, spot on Saturday for my morning lesson.

Landings

I can now fly the plane in an elementary way and am considered “safe”. I can check it over, start up, talk to Clearance, then Ground Control, then Tower, then Departure.  Get it off the ground and put it where it is supposed to be in the sky – without falling out of the sky – and I can do the basic emergency drills to a degree considered OK – though the truth is – they all involve looking for a soft spot to get down on after you have blown out the fire with a dive or tried to start the engine and it has not.

Thanksgiving Lesson

We are going to Minnesota for Thanksgiving. I’ll miss my lesson. I search around on the web and find a flying school at Crystal Airport just north of Minnesota. It is called “The Flying Scotchman”. It is surely fated that I fly here. I email them and a nice CFI called Steve Fischer agrees to take me up for a lesson on the Friday.

A Flying Lesson

My partner has been very supportive of this undertaking. I talk to my instructor and he agrees she can come on a lesson in the back seat to see what it is all about. Realistically we will not be performing all our normal maneuvers as it can get a bit rough in back. It won’t be a wasted lesson because all time in the air is good. But I should understand that he won’t introduce anything new and we will keep it simple. That’s fine with me.  We take N503SP the more powerful plane for the extra weight.

A Decision......

“What are we going to do next year?” – posed by my girlfriend. She was just back from a trip to Italy.
I was mulling over the fact that four different friends or clients were facing battles with cancer. I had hit the big 50 this year. If I didn’t do it now – I was never going to do it.

Discovery Flight

Lunchtime – I arrive at Airport Road in Warwick – having driven past the usual airport entrance and around the end of the field, it’s incredible to see all the airport marketing in this place. There are hangers behind the fence, a big “Learn to Fly Here” sign on the end of the big hangar. A trail of little yellow airplanes painted on the sidewalk leads to the school door in the old control tower building. I go through the door. A counter – I’m immediately greeted by a young guy called “Chris” – according to his name badge.

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