Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Perfect! November 24, 2009
Woke up at 7:30.
Walked outside to breakfast. NO CLOUDS!!! NO FOG!!! I saw nothing but blue skies! Woo hoo!
Showered, ate, then headed to the airport. Fueled up, then headed off! I don't always understand weather as much as I would like to...but the skies were soooooo crisp! I mean, I could literally see forever. Some days the haze is so heavy you lose the horizon. Today I had a perfect horizon line...I could literally see probably 80 miles in every direction if not more...the only reason I couldn't go further was because my eyes wouldn't let me!
The winds were pretty strong, and on my way to my flight plan in Navarro County, I actually did 148 knots across the ground! In a Cessna 172! I'll take it! It finally settled around 130 knots...but that is still great! I was a little nervous about getting a crystal clear day like this but having too strong of winds at altitude...but once I got on station, it was perfect. At 5500 feet, the winds were still strong but within limits...I was doing 130 south-bound and around 90 north-bound. And it was just perfectly smooth. I loved it!!!
No, seriously, the past few days I have just been thinking. I have just had numerous moments in the past few days where I just realize I love my job. I get paid to fly. I hang out at airports. I see the earth from up above. I meet new people. I get paid to fly!!!!!!! It really is such a blessing. I just love it.
I flew for a few hours, then landed at 12:30 in Corsicana. The airport was pretty simple...one runway and a handful of buildings. I taxied up to the fuel and headed inside. A woman asked if she could fuel me up, and I was more than happy to oblige. I heated up my can o' soup and drank my V-8 and just perused the airport. They actually had a nice little museum telling about the history of the field. Turns out this place cranked out hundreds of pilots back in World War II. They had pictures of well over 100 Curtiss airplanes sitting on the ramp...this was a primary training facility back in the day. I tell ya, the more I fly around the United States, the more I realize that soooooooooo much of our general aviation has its roots in war. I really wonder how many airports (or pilots!) we would have if we didn't have a World War II. But I was enthralled with the history of it...the pictures were awesome. I instantly recognized the current hangars as the ones that they had back in 1940! Pretty neat.
I ate...then paid for my fuel. The woman was more than appreciative of my purchase...almost to the point of pleading. Interesting. I often wonder how airports like this survive. It was owned/ran by the city from what I could tell...but still...how do they get their money? Fuel sales (which looked less than survivable), hangar rentals (quite a bit on field), and federal money (which I often wonder about, too). I have been so interested in airports lately (contemplating being a manager someday), but when I look at daily activity, the numbers seem incredibly inflated. This is what determines federal money, and it's often in the millions of dollars. Someone signs a line, and a runway is extended or re-paved, and several millions of dollars are spent. I don't always get it...or support it. But it happens day-in, day-out. It's a Catch 22...my love is definitely the small general aviation airports...but so much of me also sees such a waste of money in these, too. I don't know where I stand!!! We just have sooooooooooooooooooooo many in the United States. It's great!!! But almost crazy!
I flew until 3:00 when the window closed...then headed the 56 nautical miles back to Cleburne.
I was three miles behind Matt...two miles behind another airplane...and so I followed them in...#3 for Runway 33.
Landed, headed to the FBO, fueled up, then went to the hangar where Danny was still working. We stayed about 45 minutes, then headed for the hotel. Miss Sarah called us and invited us out for supper. Well, of course!!!!
She drove us up to Babe's in Burleson, Texas. Your choice of chicken...and then an unlimited supply of salad (incredibly sweet and good), corn (sweet and good), green beans (sweet and good), mashed potatoes, gravy, and rolls. Incredible! This is almost blasphemy to say this, but it rivaled Lambert's!!! The clincher, though? I had to sweeten my tea. Lambert's still holds my heart. I tell you, though, if they served sweet tea, I just might have cheated on my former love!
The service at this airport is just crazy. They won't charge us both for hangars...they cook us lunch...they treat us like friends...and now they take us out to eat! It's just enjoyable. I love it. I had meant to do laundry tonight (as in I needed to!), but food definitely took priority. It was so worth it, too. Just an enjoyable night amongst friends. Miss Sarah, Danny, Dave, Matt, and myself.
We drove back to Cleburne, then chilled in the hotel. It's nice having a couple of others guys. I was a bit nervous about taking this "new" job this year, but it has worked out great. I've only been working for three weeks, and I have already seen several of the guys already. I like that.
I also received two books in the mail today! I ordered them last week, and they made it before we have to relocate. Good! I bought "Stick and Rudder" and "Lindbergh." That should keep me busy for a couple of weeks.
Speaking of busy, the forecast is calling for the infamous "severe clear!" We have a couple of high pressure systems coming through back-to-back...and we are getting real close to finishing. Matt and I have 16 hours of work left here in this area. As of right now, it looks like we will be re-locating on Thanksgiving!!! How typical! Oh, well, I'm excited. And as always, I'm eager for the cross-country flight. My favorite part.
Went to bed at 11:30. I got 6.7 hours today. Looks like I could get the same tomorrow.
All in all, just a perfect day. Good flying, good food, good friends. I can sure get used to that.