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back in the air!

I haven't flown since April and the idea of getting back in the left seat was pretty damn scary, which I think contributed to a little procrastination on my part with the whole "get back to flying" thing. When I quit, I made a goal to be back up when the baby was three months old. She's much closer to four months. But points for me, it HAPPENED. Last night I went on my first post-baby flight and it went really well.

I was scared because learning to fly was incredibly challenging, time-consuming, and expensive... I think I spent two months just learning how to land. If I forgot all that, I didn't see how I'd be able to re-learn it all.

Well good news... it comes back! I had an instructor with me but he only did two things:

1) Stopped me before I called clearance on the wrong frequency. I would have figured it out when no one responded with a clearance for me, but he said he had to feel useful somehow.
2) On one of my takeoffs at Newton, I did a left turn and started a radio call to announce that I was on left... oh crap what am I on? CROSSWIND. I hardly ever call crosswind, that's probably why I forgot.

But he never took the controls, never told me to watch airspeed. I did attempt to fly a pattern with the flaps down but realized it myself about 1/3 of the way through, he said he'd noticed it but loves to let his students do stuff like that. Nothing bad happens, you just get to a point where you're like "Why's it taking so much power to hold altitude at 90 knots?"

I remember how to land! That's the important part.

He said he could really "see the gears turning" when I was trying to do more than one thing at a time, like dial in a frequency and climb. He reminded me that I could always use autopilot. Autopilot's a funny thing... my boss always has sort of a "kids these days" attitude about autopilot because 0% of his flight training was in an airplane with one. He also joked once in a meeting about how I was probably great at programming an autopilot and I was like, "Hey now, you saying I can't hand fly?"

So on my "real pilot" flights, I've decided to try and reserve autopilot for 1) very long cross countries or 2) weird multi-tasking times when I really need to be watching for some traffic. I engaged autopilot on that one flight with Marc back from hutch where the world looked suddenly very hazy and I was worried we were in a cloud or something (we weren't).

Anyway I'm very excited now to go on some flying adventures. And I have some goals for the future... although I don't think I'll have time for an instrument rating in this decade, in the near future I would like to:
1) Get night current again
2) Fly a 182
3) Land on a grass runway

I think I'll leave my goals there for now. I'm happy to just to have them, honestly... it feels really good to know I'm still a pilot.



( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
Back in the game!
Must feel great to be back in the saddle again! Soft-fields are fun... when they are well maintained. Always call first and inquire about the condition. I like Katama in Martha's Vineyard. You taxi to the end of the runway, and walk out onto the beach! (The might be a long flight for you though but just an example) Welcome back Captain.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Back in the air sounds great - although I prefer to leave the plane at altitude :-P (And I haven't been up (or down or out) for almost two years.)
What kind of plane do you fly that has an autopilot? (Since you want to fly an 182, I assume the one with an autopilot is no bigger than a 182 (again assuming "182" is the Cessna. I jump from LN-ASS btw :-)).

On Mythbusters yesterday they were checking if it was possible for a layman acting as emergency pilot to be talked down by ATC. It was. Apparently this has never happened except in films...
Oct. 3rd, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I like staying inside planes :) Hell the landings are the fun part!

I normally fly a Cessna 172, G1000-equipped with autopilot.

I'm gonna have to see that Mythbusters because I do not believe that anyone could land a plane with just some verbal instructions!
Oct. 4th, 2010 06:45 am (UTC)
Landings are the scary part! ;-) I am not sure I could land a Cessna (but how hard could it be? ;-)), but I am quite certain I can take off. And that solves my problem :-)

It was episode #94 (according to wikipedia), the last episode of the 2007 season. We're a few years behind over here :-)
Oct. 4th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm quite sure I could talk the average uber-geek through landing a plane over the radio. I don't guarantee it'll be a *great* landing... and I might not get them into an 800-foot strip. But the main runway here at KBFI, good enough to walk away from? Absolutely.
Oct. 3rd, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC)
Yay! That's great, congratulations.
Oct. 4th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
Awesome, that sounds like a fantastic instructor to be up with on your first flight back in the air! :D
Oct. 5th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
set your sights high, fly a 210! the best memories I had flying with my sister when she got her license was going in and out of the airport on Catalina Island off the coast of California. http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=1801+Johnson+Dr,+Antioch,+Contra+Costa,+California+94509&ll=33.406081,-118.412919&spn=0.023824,0.038152&t=h&z=15

when you take off, the very second your off the runway the ground drops away and you're over the water, it's awesome. Of course if you over shoot the landing you are also all of a sudden flying over water too, so it's best if you're pretty confident before you shoot that runway.
Oct. 7th, 2010 12:57 am (UTC)
I saw this 1940s cessna ad the other day, which reminded me of you. http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/05/02/vintage-cessna-ad-claims-planes-are-the-new-cars/

Just a word of warning on that blog though, it's so interesting it can be a real time sink.
Oct. 7th, 2010 12:20 pm (UTC)
That ad is totally going up at my desk today, that is sexy!
Oct. 7th, 2010 01:33 am (UTC)
Yay you!
Oct. 7th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on getting back up there! Looking forward to reading of future flights.
Oct. 11th, 2010 05:56 am (UTC)
congratulations :)
there are grass runways?
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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