Friday, March 5, 2010

Back in the (Older) Saddle--March 5, 2010

Woke up at 7:20 A.M.  Routine morning.  Headed for the airport.

This was my first day in the "new" airplane.  50V.  Ok, so she's not new at all.  Just new for me.  I had done a training flight a few days ago in this, but I sat right seat the entire time.  Now she was all mine.  50V is a 1974 Cessna 172M.  Our fleet has nicknamed her "The Cadillac" due to her paint job and plush maroon interior.  But that's about where it ends.  She's just a plain' ol 172 on the inside.  Nothin' too fancy (although she DOES have an auto-pilot!).

Frankly, I'm kind of old school when it comes to flying.  A plane is a plane.  Yes, 151 is MUCH nicer.  Pretty much in everything.  But both airplanes still fly.  So I hopped in and headed for the skies.  We had a broken layer of clouds at 8000 feet, but they burned off by 11:00.

I flew the first few hours and didn't really have any problems.  I had my first "burble" around 10:30, and the consistent bumps starting coming around 11:00.  By noon, it was pretty much getting ridiculous, but I managed to finish three flight plans.  I headed in to Lebanon-Jones with the other four guys, and we had lunch there.  Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, pickled okra, salad, and another dose of cherry pie.  This is just simply amazing!  The guy says they've been doin' this daily lunch for 11 years now.  WOW.  We personally LOVE it.  You just don't get this anywhere else.

I headed back up around 1:00, and it was pretty much painful.  The turbulence was just downright uncomfortable now.  It wasn't too awful bad on the straight-and-level flying (though it was NOT smooth), but when you make those turns, it's just dumb.  You are in a 25-degree banked turn, and all of a sudden, your airplane is thrown upwards and possibly sideways at the same time.  Your body may press up against the side of the door, your tail may swing out sideways, and your wing may flip over 20 more degrees.  It's just plain ol' stupid.  I lasted about 30 minutes...only three lines.  Then we called it.  Phew.

I don't get it.  It's really not that hot, but wow.  These updrafts and downdrafts are just prolific around here!  And to think it's only the first part of March!  Yuck.  It only gets worse the rest of the season.

I climbed up to 6000 feet on the way back but got caught in some clouds, so I quickly descended down to 5000-ish.  I landed back at Branson.  It really wasn't a bad day...I flew 5.7 hours.  Matt and Ivo made it over to St. Louis, so now we're down to four people here.

Went out to Cracker Barrel for supper, then stayed inside the hotel for the evening.

Skies are looking good tomorrow...we should fly until noon again, then hate our lives.

Went to bed at 10:45 P.M.

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