Monday, October 25, 2010

Adventures in Aviation, Part Duex

I’ve been getting a lot of unofficial flying lessons lately. I guess that’s to be expected when you’re engaged to an aviator. My fourth unofficial but hands on flying lesson was on Sunday. I made a point to read a chapter in the Airplane Flying Handbook the week previous to prepare for my next lesson. It was an introductory chapter which talked about the basics: pre-flight checklists, the walk-around (they mentioned the bird nest in the engine thing!) and airplane fuel grade and color. There was also a paragraph which detailed the potential hazard “crazed” windows can cause. “Crazed” windows? What could that possibly mean? Well, “crazing” is the de-lamination of plastic, and a “crazed” window can potentially produce a blinding reflection during flight. So basically the entire chapter added nothing new to my practical aviation know how.

Sunday was much cooler than Adventures in Aviation, Part Une, but Camarillo is proving to be unpredictable. Relatively clear skies soon turned into a windy, cloudy mess. But by golly, I actually wore tennis shoes for this flying lesson (as opposed to flip flops – I’m Misses Responsible)! There was no way I was going to let the weather get the best of me. I was determined, and angry.

“Oh no you don’t, you damn thermal. You’re not going to mess with my near perfect altitude stability. Take that!” And I pitched my nose down. “Hi turbulence. You think you’re so bad, trying to scare me with all the bumping and bouncing. You don’t scare me. You’re probably just mad because your mother never loved you. Well, I’m really sorry about that, but I got an airplane to fly so piss off.” And I gripped the stick firmly.

I was in battle and the weather was my opponent. I was feeling good; more confident than I had ever felt in the pilot’s seat. But every good experience has its gotcha. Mine happened as we were coming in for landing, not 1000 feet from the airport, and my sharp 90 degree turn to get us in line with the runway caused a near stall. Stall means: I ALMOST KILLED US. I don’t think I’ve ever said “You’re plane!” as fast as I did when Wes made me aware of this. Nothing like a little stall to add a cherry on top of my fledging flying confidence.

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