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Back in the (very small) Saddle

December 9, 2006

Yesterday, after 1,652 days of not doing so, I went flying. I don’t mean riding in the back of a commercial airplane, by the way — I’ve done that within that time span, but that’s not flying. I mean hands on the controls, take ‘er up and bring ‘er down flying.

A tad bit of history is that I began working on getting a pilot’s certificate back in November of 2000, and finished up on April 6th of 2002, but only flew a few times after that prior to stopping. Lots of things caused the interruption, primarily an absence of folding money, but I’ve missed flying a lot. But along with — and in large part, thanks to — the encouragement of SWMBO, I get the medical renewed and called up Calm One.

Calm One is my flight instructor, and I call him this from his behavior during my early flights. S-turns, turns around a point, climbs, descents — these were probably screwy enough but were done with much distance betwixt ourselves and the ground. However, those early landings where I was coming in and the runway seemed to sway from high up on the left to high up on the right, the ground was kind of right there. I would glance over at Calm One, expecting the Oh My God We’re Gonna Die shout to come forth but, instead, he’d just spit into his spit cup (Skoal) and say “A little left rudder.” Calm.

Turns out, I did end up nailing those landings, and wound up with a certificate. I’ll probably reminisce about some of the flying from back then occasionally, but for now I’ll just say the rust was there after four years. Everything went pretty well, though I felt behind the plane the entire time. Things were happening faster than I needed them to, and the ease I remember I had achieved had evaporated. But it’ll come back, and I’m looking forward to the next time up. I’ll be working with Calm One on an IFR rating, and it’ll probably take a couple of years to accomplish. But SWMBO and I have already begun planning some get-aways while I’m working on it. When you travel in a straight line at 150 MPH, lunch out on Saturday can take place much farther away.

Oh, and one other thing: I’d forgotten how small a small-plane cockpit is. When you’re my size, getting in and out is half the battle. But once in, it’s a blast!

From → Ramblings

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