Sunday, March 21, 2010

New York, New York!!!--March 21, 2010


Woke up at 1:30 A.M.  We checked the weather, and the rain and low clouds were taken completely out of the forecast.  Crap.  We decided to push the time back a little bit.  We decided on 4:00 A.M. instead of 2:00 A.M.  I hopped back in bed but had a hard time falling back asleep for awhile.

Woke up again at 3:30 A.M.  Took a shower, grabbed my stuff, and we were out the door.  Grabbed some plastic-wrap breakfast at a gas station, then headed for the airport.

We packed all of our gear into the Aztec.  We didn't end up getting off the ground until about 5:30.  We had to top off the tanks in order to try to make the trip non-stop.

But we were off!  The airplane was mine.  I was at the controls, and I would have them for the next 6.2 hours.  The take-off was pretty fast!!!  That airplane is SO powerful...and can be a bit squirrely on the runway!  But I climbed out, brought the gear up, and went after my heading...and an altitude of 10,500 feet!!!

Part of our trip was over the ocean...something I probably wouldn't do in a single-engine!  I climbed up to 10,500 and just cruised.  I really like this airplane.  I won't lie...there is a lot going on.  From fuel-flow gauges to specific engine temperatures to propeller speeds to manifold pressure, it's just a "lot more airplane."  But I enjoy the challenge.

The trip itself was pretty enjoyable.  The first couple of hours weren't too bad...the sunrise over the ocean was simply beautiful.  We ate, we talked, and I just got a feel for the airplane.  But the middle hours were nothing short of brutal.  I mean, brutal.  I was flying VERY tired.  The loud drone of the engines, the bright sunshine, the lack of a horizon to watch, the dry eyes, the constant yawns.  My "co-pilot" fell asleep for a bit, and that didn't help at all.  I did EVERYTHING I could to stay awake.  I moved around a lot, I specifically focused on different things.  But I was struggling.

When we were about an hour and a half out, it became so much better.  I had the end in sight.  But yikes!!!  Flying tired is NOT fun.  Or safe.

But it was still enjoyable.  We had tons of munchies, Gatorade, and plenty of jokes.  And we were cruising around 170 MPH.  Oh, that is so nice!!!

I descended into Rochester from about 30-40 miles out.  The airplane certainly handles turbulence quite a bit differently than the 172, but in a better sense.  It just kind of pushes its way through it.  One thing I don't like, though, is that the attitude indicator is the OPPOSITE of all of the other indicators I've used.  Instead of the airplane turning, it's actually the GROUND that turns!  So when I think I have to turn left in order to fly level, I actually have to turn right!  When I think about it, it's not a problem.  But I caught myself a couple of times doing the wrong thing...namely on quick glances and quick corrections.  That is going to take some getting used to.

My landing in Rochester was pretty much flawless...outside of me forgetting to put the carb heat in.  But the owner and the mechanic both congratulated me on a fine landing.  I was thrilled!  ha!

We went out to eat and tried the famous Garbage Plate.  I hated it.  It is certainly going to kill me later.

Then we went to the hotel and crashed.  All of us.  We slept for a couple of hours.  We woke up and watched C-SPAN for a few hours.  No joke!  The healthcare bill was being discussed and decided tonight.  We went to the bar at the restaurant, and we actually watched C-SPAN instead of sports on the big screen!  It's just that important to us.

But much to our dismay, the bill passed.  I'm just afraid there are too many unknowns ahead.  Too much positive thinking and not enough details.

I ended up going to bed at midnight.  Tomorrow is supposed to be nothing but rain.  But it's a day in the hangar as my camera rig gets installed.  I imagine I'm here for a few days...and then off to Denver!

This is crazy!!!

But 6.2 hours of PIC multi-engine time.  Woo hoo!!!  And I'm getting paid again!!!

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