Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wild Blue Yonder

Ann seems to have been bitten by the same aviation bug that got me back when I was her age. She wants to fly. She's been pushing me to get my license re-certified for some time now. She also wants lessons for herself. She also wants me to pay for them. With no commitment to either of our aviation futures, I agreed to get a plane and an instructor for at least one time.

It was a breezy day at Stellar Air Park as Ann, Jason, our instructor, and I taxied to the runway. Ann was in the pilot's seat. In the air over the desert south of Chandler, Jason showed Ann how to recover from a stall. This maneuver is a little spooky for the novice pilot. We proceeded to Phoenix Regional Airport. This is basically a strip of pavement in the middle of nowhere. Jason guided Ann into the landing pattern and on to the runway. Jason took control just before touchdown since any contact between an aircraft and the ground should be a gentle one.

Ann Lands

On the ground, Ann and I swapped seats. It's been 25 years since I piloted a plane. Although flying a plane is a lot like riding a bicycle except for the wings, rudder, engine, propeller, radios, and complex avionic instrumentation, I figured I could still do it. I wanted to do some "touch and go's" to get back in the groove. Although there was a cross wind which makes landing a lot like walking onto a running treadmill at a 45 degree angle without falling over, I did OK. Any landing you walk away from is OK.

I piloted the plane back to the air park and made another OK landing. Ann and I were a little woozy since I had done a couple of steep banks and accelerated turns on the way back that tended to pull the blood out your head and throw your equilibrium out of whack. It's all part of the fun.

All in all it was good to be back in the wild blue yonder. We'll do it again.


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