Monday, October 26, 2009

Future Aviators, Rich's First Flight, and Aerobatic Lesson #2

My instrument instructor professed to not remember me when I wrote him last week inquiring about a lesson. I am definitely guilty of fun flying this summer and slacking off on the lessons. But it has been a great summer, so I don't regret it. Last month I took our club's Cessna 152 and flew the short jaunt over to Annapolis (KANP) to visit with my student pilot friend Keith and his family. Keith had warned me that high trees at the edge of a narrow, short runway frequented by gusty winds off the Bay could make for a fun landing. It was indeed fun, but I have also had worse.
Kevin, Tracy, Evie and Allie drove out for the BBQ and we managed to collect all the girls -- including me! -- wearing our Girls With Wings "Yes, Girls Can Fly!" shirts. (Poor Allie has been neglected by her aunty and does not yet have a shirt, so does not appear in the photo. She will get one for Christmas, though!)
Lynda Meeks, the organizer of GWW, got such a kick out of the picture she made it her promotional picture on her store's website.

It was a lovely day, and Andrea and Keith hosted a yummy BBQ, while Aiden and Madeleine kept all of us amused with their beach treasure hunt, and Chuck showed us how quickly she could crawl off her blanket and start eating sand.

All to soon it was time to head for home. Keith was there to see (and photograph!) my departure, which was very cool. It's not every day you get photos of yourself flying the L'il Red Dragon.

It's a beautiful view as you take off over the Bay, so I swung out further than I needed to before heading for home.

Next on my list of memorable trips was my first time flying Rich! Poor guy. He really did not luck out on the weather. Naturally, I wanted his first time in a small plane, especially with me as pilot, to be as enjoyable as possible. Bad weather had already preempted our flight to Ocean City, MD to see Mum and Dad, and I was hoping the same would not be true of our trip to visit Lowell and Roxanne.

Fortunately, Rich was a very good sport and was not phased by the clouds, the turbulence, or the decreasing visibility as we attempted to get to the Windwood Airport (WV62; Pvt) in WV. He amused himself taking photographs while I kept an eye on the clouds and debated when we would need to get under them - and down into the mountain turbulence - before they closed in too tight.

It was bumpy once we went down below, but we got to see the changing colours of Fall and I tried to follow the mountain valleys to increase safety by maximizing altitude as much as possible.

It became evident at 4 minutes 15 seconds from Winwood that we would not have adequate clearance between the tree tops and the airport to make the landing safely, so I did a 180 and brought us back to Grant County (W99). Lowell and Roxanne had to drive an extra 45 minutes to pick us up, but they were very gracious about it. We left the airport and got lunch, which we ate in a lovely State park before hiking the Black Falls and returning to their cabin. We built a large bonfire and spent the evening enjoying the crisp mountain air, good company, and beautiful scenery.

Last, but certainly not least on my list of recent memorable flights was my second aerobatics lesson. I had seen my instructor up at the Flying W in August (where he was competing) but it has been six months or more since my first lesson. Fortunately, Adam declared me to be a quick study, and we did not spend too much time refreshing my knowledge of loops and rolls. We moved on to slow rolls and then it was time to combine the loop and the roll (the first one videotaped by Adam).

After we praticed the loop/roll combo three or four more times, Adam previewed my next lesson's maneuvers. After that, it was time to head for home. I still had time to do two more slow rolls while under the Bravo 2500 foot shelf before we hit the 1500 shelf. I also took a quick video of us, and the water, because it was just so darn pretty....

It was a gorgeous day, and I could see the Washington Monument as we flew towards the Potomac Airfield. It is a rare treat to be allowed to fly so close to D.C., given the restrictions imposed on general aviation pilots after 9/11.
All too soon it was time to get down to business and practice landing a taildragger. The winds had picked up and were their "usual gusty and variable self" as we came into Potomac. After we got on the ground, Adam teased me that I had landed not once, but three times, and was therefore that much closer to getting my taildragger endorsement.
I left the airfield only a tiny bit queasy and already looking forward to my next lesson when I will practice the Half Cuban 8 and Immelman maneuvers!


At October 27, 2009 at 10:05 AM , Anonymous Jason said...

So awesome Amy! When you taking me for a loop/roll? I really need to start taking lessons! Any cool trips coming up?


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