13. October 2004 · Comments Off on PILOT’S LOGBOOK · Categories: General

Just couldn’t resist: The weather was nice, I was tired of dragging this clubfoot around, wanted to prove (to myself, maybe?) that I could fly safely with a broken foot. Hard time preflighting, it was torture to get down under that wing and check the gas tanks, untie the old air horse. But the payoff started when the old Lycoming O-320 fired up and that fan in front of the pilot started turning……Leaping off the runway at 60 knots, I am always amused that a 150-hp engine that small can propel me up so high and go so fast. Here I am at 5000 feet, streaking along at 140 knots. This thing reduces my travel time to my son’s home, Birmingham, from 6-7-hours by crawling along the interstate, to 2 hours with no traffic jams…..Back to reality….

Today it was a short cross country, with a touch-and-go at an uncontrolled airport, then attention to detail as I programmed the GPS for a practice ILS approach to my hometown aerodrome. Hit the intxn right on the money, turned inbound to the NDB, then intercepted the LOC, and down the chute to a perfect crosswind landing. Dumped the flaps, firewalled the throttle, and back up for a landing on another RWY. 24 was the first, but with wind at 160 deg, a roundabout to RWY 13. Down the chute again, pretty close on the final, dropped full flaps all at once, pointed the nose at the ground, rounded out for a nice flare, EEK-EEK, tires on the tarmac, and taxiied in to shutdown. I hate to stop! I mean, this really clears out all the cobwebs, just sheer fun, no schedule to keep, no ARTCC, no APC or TWR, just me and my trusty airsteed. OK, it’s just a Warrior, not fast or complex, a simple aircraft that is fun and not too expensive. But it’s mine, and it keeps me going.

Any pilots out there? Let’s hear your love of flying. If you are one of those folks who wonder about flying yourself, get out to the airport and take just one lesson. When my oldest grandson (16) took the controls for the first time a few months ago, he was hooked. My son, who used to go with me most everywhere I flew when he was a kid, got all fired up when he again took his place in the right seat. The youngest grandkid needed a couple of cushions to see over the panel, but when he got hold of it we all got a thrill. Not knowing better, he yanked the yoke back and we had a good view of the sky! Taking the controls back, he got a short course in gentle movements of controls, then he did a great job for a 10 year-old. Last I heard, son and oldest grandson were getting set up for flying lessons…….You just can’t do better than flying for recharging the old batteries. Too old? Nah, that won’t fly. I didn’t even start for my license until I was 40. Been flying with other people since 18, but a trip with a client of mine down to the mouth of the Mississippi river, him putting me in the left seat and coaching me, I just HAD to get that privilege for myself. The lessons started a week later. I pored over volumes of textbooks, ate, slept, and breathed flying for the next six months, flew, learned what I needed to know, took the written with a 98% passing grade (study, study, study), and the practical was a breeze. Just another flight with someone telling me to do this, do that, go there, and land here. As much fun as any other flight, and I had that ticket saying that I was a full-fledged Birdman.

I say again, you can’t beat flying!


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