Thursday, February 18, 2010

On the Move--February 16, 2010


Woke up at 7:00 A.M.  NOT cool.  Was picked up from my boss's house by our mechanic.  We headed to the mechanic's house to have a truck towed, then headed to the airport.  One of the other pilots picked me up in his car, and then we drove the 45 minutes to Sanford to pick up our airplanes.  We had a nice conversation about why we believe what we believe...where we get our morals, etc.  It's fascinating.  At the end of the day, we ALL believe something.

I grabbed my plane and pointed her towards Augusta, Georgia.  I had some fairly strong headwinds on my flight up there, and I was only average 85 knots over the ground at 4500 feet.  The actual flight was fairly simple...nothin' too complex.  I only had to deviate once to get around a Restricted Area, but that was it.  Before long, I found myself talking to Matt who was already in the air 100 miles ahead of me.  He was working!  Perfect.

I landed at Adams Field in Augusta, then took the courtesy car out for lunch.  I wasn't feelin' too good, and I knew I needed some calories.  I did the simple McDonald's routine.  I think I was back in my airplane within 30 minutes.  And I climbed up to 5000 feet to do some revenue work.  But man oh man, was it bumpy.  I HATED the approach coming in to Adams Field...I had a heavy airplane, and I could feel every jolt.  And they were jolts!!!  Sudden snaps from the wind.  Just not fun at all.

The climb-out was just as bad.  The winds were 13 knots gusting to 20, I think.  I don't remember exactly.  But they were kicking, I remember that.  My prop would overspeed, then slow down.  My airplane would climb at 1500 feet per minute, then barely be able to climb at 200 feet.  It was painful.  And it was oh so bumpy.

I finally made it up to 5000 feet, but it wasn't much better.  My flight in at 4500 feet had been smooth, but something had changed in the past 45 minutes.  I flew one line and went to make my turn to line two.  I was being bounced around like a rag doll.  I was flying over some (small) hills, and they must've been creating a fury of wind waves...and I was feeling every one.  It didn't help that I was doing 65 knots westbound...and 140 knots eastbound.  These winds were strong!!!

Well, I missed my line, so I circled to try it again.  I did a wide loop, and then all of a sudden, I see another airplane about 500 feet away from me...right in front of me...climbing through my altitude!!!  It scared the living crap out of me...but it happened so fast.  The wing was tilted every so slightly down to the left, so the pilot couldn't see me.  But I recognized that plane.

"Matt, check your 9 o'clock."

He later told me all he saw was a blur go by...he knew it was a plane, and I guess it shook him up a bit!  As it should!  I had dove 300 feet already...I had to!!!  We had told Approach that we would provide our own separation, and he just assumed I was on station.  It could've cost us our lives!!!  It was another lesson in the Big Sky Theory...and in always remaining diligent.  I wasn't too worried about it.

I tried a few more lines, but after being thrown down below my necessary altitude...and after being kicked around some more, I said no way.  It just isn't worth it.  It was seriously DUMB to be flying in this stuff.  Matt and I called it.  I headed into Daniel Field, and I had to endure 10 minutes of terrible, painful flying.  I HATE aggressive turbulence.  I just hate it.  It throws your wing up when you don't want it to, it makes you climb when you don't want to, it makes you descend when you don't want to, it kicks out your tail when you don't want to, it makes you come off your seat when you don't want to, and it makes you compress into your seat when you don't want to.  Frankly, I see nothing good that it does!

I entered left downwind for Runway 29...but I completely blew that approach.  The winds were just eating me alive today.  And I was more than mad.  I "rescued" my approach and just lined up for Runway 23 instead.  I fought the bumps all the way to the ground and put the airplane down.  I was glad to be done flying.

I hate flying.

I walked inside the FBO where I met a gorgeous young woman.  We talked for awhile, and so I asked her out for supper.  No dice.  She has a boyfriend.  Riiiiiight.  She WAS beautiful, but what caught my eye was her studying Calculus III!!!  How attractive is that?!  She is a math major...I absolutely melt for smart chicks.  But I was shot down.

Matt and I called the hotel shuttle, and we went outside to wait.  The gorgeous FBO girl had warned us that this guy is often late...but I guess I didn't take her at her word.  We ended up waiting outside for 56 minutes.  And it was stupid cold.  We hopped in the van, and the man had the audacity to ask if we were cold.  I didn't say one word to him.  Not one.

The hotel (where the other guys were staying) ended up being sold out, so Matt and I went across the street to the Holiday Inn.  I grabbed some supper by myself, then headed back to the room.  I ended up going to bed at a healthy 11:00 P.M.  I had wanted to make it 10:00, but I missed it.  Oh well...I needed sleep.

Tomorrow has the same forecast as today.  Scattered clouds at 4000 feet.  And gusty winds.  However, those clouds never came about today...and we're banking on them not being there tomorrow.

Sleep, here I come.

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