Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1000 Hours!!! November 30, 2009


Today was a pretty special day.  Kind of.

Woke up at 7:30.  Grabbed some breakfast, headed for the airport.

Did the pre-flight, loaded up some new drives, and headed for the skies.  We had clouds, but they were mostly high up.  I had to cancel my first flight plan due to low clouds to the south, but I just moved to another one up north.  And the haze!!!  Oh the haze!!!  The earth was coated with this sooooooft blanket-like cloud.  Easy to see through down to the ground, but when you looked out straight, visibility was very poor.  It burned off in the next hour or so.

I flew the area over the airport at 5000 feet.  I tell ya, it was a pretty routine day.  Some military jet traffic on frequency, a couple of departures, but that was about it.  Today was definitely a day of work.  Same ol', same ol'.  North, south, north, south.

I flew 3.5 hours, then landed for fuel.  Opened up my Campbell's soup can, made a make-shift spoon out of a cup, drank some V-8 from a bottle, and peed.  Twice.  It's a crazy lifestyle, it really is.  I had had a granola earlier at altitude, but that doesn't last very long.

I fueled up, then hit the skies again.  It was already 1:15...I had just barely over an hour to go before closing time!  These early winter days are so short!  Enjoy them, sir!!!

But I was struuuuuuuuuugling, for some reason.  I was yawning and yawning and yawning and yawning.  I just couldn't get my oxygen!  So much so that I opened up a couple of the outdoor vents (to a balmy 46 degrees).  I checked my carbon monoxide detector...it was good.  I wasn't sure what was going in.  But I was tired, and I was tired in a hurry.  I had been doing just fine all morning!  The last hour couldn't go fast enough.

But about 30 minutes into the second part of my day, I hit a pretty major milestone.  I surpassed 1,000 hours!!!  I did a little dance in the plane, threw the hands up, let out a couple of high-pitched noises...and then succumbed back to reality.  No, seriously, 1000 really means NOTHING in aviation.  It's just a nice whole number is all.  I quickly realized that it didn't have too much meaning...and continued flying.  But I was still pretty happy about it.

I finished up my last line at 2:32 and found myself at 5000 feet (4600 feet above the airport).  I called in, and he cleared me for the left downwind to Runway 4.  Sweet.  I spiraled my way on in...two turns.  I lined up for Runway 4 and greased a landing...one of my smoothest ever.

Filled out some paperwork, took the shuttle back to the hotel, then went out to eat to celebrate.  I bought a steak.  And it was mighty fine, if I do say so myself.  Actually one of the better ones I've had.

Came back to the hotel, read a little more of the Lindbergh book (learned all about the kidnapping and the stories behind that...I had NO idea), then started looking at airline/cargo jobs.  I do that every once in awhile.  Frankly, it's just discouraging.  It's a looooooooooooooooooooong time in any field.  I can fly here at this job and make bank...and really it's a huge blessing.  I can fly cargo and make mediocre pay.  Or I can fly for an airline and make crappy pay.  I'm glad I have this job, but sometimes it just gets boring.  Today was borderline one of those days.

But I'm certainly going to keep it.  And I'm going to "ride this horse until it dies."

Matt and I also told each other we're going to start studying...we realize we know a lot...but very little...about aviation.  It's crazy how that works.  I feel real confident some days, then others I just feel like I know nothing.  We're going to take some of the interview gouges off the internet and go through and answer the questions over the course of the season.  That should keep us pretty fresh.

We are soooo close to finishing the project here in Texarkana...but we're not sure we can do it.  It is going to take good flying and no problems tomorrow.  We literally need every minute of the window in order to finish.  We'll see how that goes!

1003 hours.  That means I've spent 41 entire days inside an airplane.

I think I'm starting to learn a little bit about flying.  Just a little.

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