Friday, December 4, 2009

Brrrrrrr--December 4, 2009

Woke up at 7:30 A.M.  Ate a Texas-shaped waffle (no lie), some cereal, and grabbed some orange juice.  Then headed for the airport...but not before stopping at Wal-Mart so Matt could get gloves.  It was freeeeeeeeeezing outside!  So cold.  We heard that Houston had received a couple inches of snow.  Who does that?!

Grabbed some coffee at the airport, then went out to pre-flight the plane.  It was sooooo cold!  I hate doing pre-flights on cold mornings!  It was probably around 30 degrees.  I don't like it!  Added some oil, then hopped inside.

The day itself was pretty routine.  North, south, north, south.  But on the way out there, I knew it was going to be a little rough.  Picture this.  Drive down the interstate in the dead of winter...turn your heater on the low setting, then roll down your back windows.  And leave down for the next three hours.  That's me in an airplane.  I have a heater, but it's not always the best.  Actually, I'd like to have a few words with some Cessna engineers.  The idea itself is great and much appreciated, but the follow-through is a more than lacking.  I have 100-degree heat that comes up through the floorboard at my feet.  So my left ankle quite literally burns beyond the point of comfort, while the rest of my body struggles to intake any portion of left-over heat.  It's a long day of moving my feet away from the heat, trying to keep warm, and hoping the cold air doesn't creep through the camera holes too much.  But at 15 degrees, it's crazy cold in the cabin.  Even with my jacket and gloves, I have a 15-degree draft coming through at 120 knots.  That's just cold.

But you just deal with it.  We're pilots.  It's what we do.

Three other guys were mapping below us, so we were able to talk to them throughout the day.  At noon, we all landed at Grayson.  Which, by the way, turned out to be an interesting experience.  A Pitts was at the field with all sorts of cameras all around.  The line guy told us The Learning Channel was taking a chicken up and doing aerobatics.  I kid you not.  With a statement like that, you don't even ask questions.  I did not.  I watched the Pitts spiral down from 5000 feet, then paid for my fuel.  I didn't even have words.  All 5 of us had landed, so we chatted for a bit, then went back up.

I finished at 2:36, then flew over to McKinney for a calibration field.  Pretty uneventful, although one of the controllers was pretty rude.  Not to me, but to another pilot.  It's sometimes comical, othertimes just annoying.  I was nothing short of surprised at what he said!  But I guess he got his point across.  But to who?  He suited himself.

Came back to Gainesville, then headed to the hotel for paperwork.  After that, we headed to Lindsay, Texas, for some BBQ that we had been heard rave reviews about.  The comments were more than warranted.  I had some amazing BBQ...ribs, brisket, ham, AND sausage.  Plus fried okra, potato salad, and sweet tea.  Needless to say, I was happy.  I left there stuffed...with a full pound of left-overs in my hand.  They fed us like kings.

Came back to the hotel and just vegged all night.  Watched "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"...which was one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen.  Nothing short of interesting.

All in all, a great day.  Although cold.   I flew 5.8 hours.  Tomorrow is looking great again.  Skies are clear.  I already have 18 hours in 4 days for December...and that is pretty hard to beat.

Went to bed at 11:30.

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