Saturday, November 8, 2008

Front Royal Fly-In

Several times a year, Joe, one of the members of our flying club, organizes a club fly-in. The destinations change among airports in the greater Washington area, with favorite locales occasionally repeated. I had yet to participate in one since getting my license, so let Joe know I was up for wherever and whatever.

In the end, it was just Joe and myself who were keen to fly, so we decided to head out over Harper's ferry and follow the Potomac south to Front Royal. It had been a week or so since I'd been up, and the leaves were displaying some great colors.

As we flew along, Joe pointed out the winery where his company had had a retreat only a few days before.

Although allowed to fly as low as 1,000 feet above the river, we decided that 1,600 gave us a little more maneuvering room.

While Joe flew, I practiced my "tilted is artsy" photography.

I realized how low we were to the ground when I looked up and saw birds above us!

I had never followed the Potomac South before, and saw some great fishing spots. According to Joe, there is also some great duck hunting locales. No, not in the quarry. Those two thoughts were not linked.

The day wasn't too sunny, but the air was calm, making for a good flight.

Joe landed at Front Royal and was taxing back as the below glider was landing. The picture may be a bit confusing, but the glider is landing on the left, with another glider about to take off with its tow-plane on the right. The glider was incredibly beautiful to watch as it kissed the grass and slowly came to a stop.

After shutting down the plane, Joe and I headed inside the FBO and checked out their mini-museum. As we were getting ready to leave, Joe remembered that he had a new "pilot passport" in his flight bag, which he gave to me. I hustled back inside and got my first airport stamp. I still don't fully understand the system, but apparently when the book is full, good things happen. I have a ways to go, though, in my stamp collecting endeavors.

After we watched the second glider get towed up several thousand feet (above) and released, I took off and headed us for home.

Our route was a good flight to practice my pilotage, as the Potomac took us back to Harper's ferry, at which point we cut eastwards for Gaithersburg.

I came into Gaithersburg with light winds, which made for an easy landing. Romeo still felt a bit awkward after several months of flying our low-wing Tiger, but Romeo got me through my first solo flight, and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for her.


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