Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Christmas Present

The objectives of this flight: Enjoy.

After all this time, I finally had a chance to fly with Mandy. The weather was great, a bit hazy but ATIS was calling it 10 miles. No clouds and only light winds from the west.

We started the preflight at about 4:30. I carefully explained each step of the procedure, pointing out what I was looking for and why it was important. Same thing once we sat in the cockpit. Gave it some time to sink in, allowed her to ask some questions, and tried to prepare her for what to expect. No surprises. Start, taxi and run up were all normal. Take off was as well, except for her gasps of excitement!

Very smooth air. Climbed to 4500 to get above the haze layer, trimmed it up and let he have the controls. Slow easy turns made easy by the sharp horizontal line caused by the haze. Talked just a little about lift, and why back pressure was needed in a turn. Then I gave some headings to fly, which she did quite well. No problems with airsickness, sinus problems or other distractions. So we flew south for a bit, to enter the pattern from the southwest, hopefully flying over our house. Pretty close, and we did identify our development, but not the house.

The haze mixed with the low light from the setting sun made very poor visibility. Tower was calling traffic within 3 miles that I couldn't see until behind my wing. Navigation lights and beacons just seemed to be a part of the traffic lights below. Entered left traffic number 2 behind a Piper on a right downwind. I was able to pick him up after a few tower calls, and extended the pattern just bit to follow him in.

Checklist complete, on speed, on altitude and the air is smooth as silk. Over the Mall on final, the Piper cleared the runway and it was my turn. Good landing.

"When can we do this again? I mean really?"

Does it get any better then that?

We traveled just 75.4 miles, climbed up to 4627 feet and reached the awesome speed of 135 MPH. What a beautiful night.

Time = 1.2

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