Quote of the Moment

"Beep Industries currently has no openings. This is a good thing. Any number of career paths are better than game development. Lots of jobs are more lucrative and far less work. We hear marketing and animal husbandry are filled with potential."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Flight Lesson 4 – Takeoffs are optional, Landings are mandatory

I fear I’ve taken a bit longer than I should for this update [and that’s a change how, exactly? Ed.] but the weather and my schedule haven’t exactly been cooperating again, thus I’ve had one flight in the past couple of weeks, plus a ground-school lesson.

Ground school was somewhat illuminating as we mostly focused on airspace regulations, and map reading. It was a good reality check session for me, on the order of realizing how much I don’t know. Odds are I’ll be resorting to flash cards to memorize the subtle distinctions between Class B, C, D, and E airspace rules. At least maps have legends you can use to (mostly) figure out what things mean.

The real fun, however, was on my flight lesson. I finally got some good weather, a cool, clear, crisp Saturday morning with nothing but the light haze from a thermal inversion layer making The Mountain (Mt. Rainer for the non-local) a little less than picture perfect. Either because the weather North at Everett was less stellar, or because I’m still taking too long to do my pre-flight checks, we scrubbed the original plan to fly to Paine Field in Everett and learn landings there, instead staying in the Boeing Field pattern for an hour.

No complaints here either way. Takeoffs, especially when I get to do them, are still a rush that I don’t think I’ll ever completely tire of. If pushing the throttle full forward and getting pushed back into your seat by acceleration as your airplane lunges for the sky ever starts failing to bring a grin to my face, it’s time to check my pulse, because I’m probably dead. Plus, in an hour of pattern work, I finally started to feel like I can keep up with the airplane during these maneuvers.

Nobody was going to mistake my landings for those of a pro though. By the end of the hour, I’m pretty sure my instructor wasn’t adding a lot of extra control input to get us on the ground safely, but every single one of them was definitely of the “Hard Thud” variety. Still, it was definitely fun, especially as I started to get the reference points and important directions.

Weather.com and the Magic 8-Ball both agree that tomorrow should be a good flying day, so hopefully I’ll get Lesson #5 in. Saturday should be interesting as well, since I’m planning on taking The Boy with me to start getting him familiar with the airport and real airplanes. No flying (obviously) we’re just going for the point where jet noises don’t freak him out.

For those with wings, fly to your dreams.