Saturday, April 10, 2010

Long Day!--April 8, 2010


Woke up at 7:30...on my own!!!  I'm definitely not used to that!  I lay in bed for awhile, but I got up around alarm was set for 8:00 o'clock!  Took a shower, grabbed some (very nice) breakfast, called up TRACON who sent me over to Denver Center and faxed them the map.  Then I walked over to the airport.  (I can't tell you how nice it is to have the airport right out the front door.  Oh so handy!).

I did the pre-flight and got everything ready...or at least I tried.  I had never used an oxygen system before, and for the life of me, I just couldn't figure out how to get the cannula on my face.  I tried and tried and tried.  I already had the airplane and cameras started up, and the instructions were in the back luggage compartment, and so, (in a poor decision), I just kept trying to figure it out.  Oh, you know, it's nothin''s just that if you don't have oxygen, you die.  Minor details.  Well, I finally figured out how to put it on my face, but I wasn't sure if I was right.  I had to put my headset right over the tubes, and it wasn't the most comfortable thing, but I think I had it.

And I set off for the north.  My plans are about 75 miles away, and they didn't clear me into the Class B airspace, so I had to fly towards the mountains for a bit.  I tell you, these mountains are more gorgeous today.  When I first landed here, I just wasn't too impressed.  I had remembered them being so much bigger...I was just kind of "meh" when I saw them this time around.  But today, the air was crisp, the visibility was forever, and the mountains just stood out against the blue sky.  I liked 'em!  It's still crazy to me, though, that Denver is still a good distance away from them.  I always thought Denver was RIGHT at the base...I think there's a good 20 miles before you hit the big guys!

Well, I made it to my first flight plan at 14,900 feet (the highest I've ever been by far).  I had my oxygen flowing, but I wasn't fully confident in it.  I was trying to monitor my body, any changes, and I constantly checked the flow valve to make sure it was pumping.  Seriously, if this thing stops, I probably won't notice, and I die.  Like I said...minor details, right?  Agh, too much stress for me.  No thanks.  But I pushed on.

And on and on and on.  I had to abort my first plan as I was running into an obvious snowstorm up ahead.  I mean, it had already passed through, but the snow was still on the ground everywhere...and it was right in the last 3 miles of my plans.  So I moved on to another area where it was clear.  And barren.  Oh so barren!  I was seriously mapping out barren wasteland at the foot of the mountains.  Sometimes I wonder.

But the skies were clear.  Today was going to be a full day.  It was somewhat annoying, though.  I had to constantly adjust the manifold pressure.  I was just BARELY staying under 139 knots southbound.  The winds were obviously out of the north.  So when I headed north, I was basically fine.  I was able to push it in to about 16" MP and 2200 RPM's and get 135 knots.  But when I turned south, I had to pull it back to 13" MP, and I was STILL at 139 knots.  I hate that type of flying!  I had to make this adjustment ALL DAY LONG.

But it was working.

I finally broke for lunch around 1:30 P.M.  I descended down to Cheyenne, Wyoming.  It's so fun to have to begin a descent from 30-40 miles out!  I love it!  The winds were crazy down here, though.  They were around 15 gusting to 25.  And it was BUMPY on the way down.  But the Aztec breaks through it all.  I landed on Runway 27, taxied in, grabbed a courtesy car, and headed for Arby's.  I needed food.

I came right back and picked up where I left off.  I climbed back up to 13,500 and continued on.  Oh, what a long day it was!!!  The last hour and a half was just pretty rough.  My mind was tired, I was exhausted, and I was not wanting to be in the airplane!  I was so glad to call it quits at 5:25 P.M.

I made my descent into Centennial.  I had logged a whopping 8.4 hours today!  8.4!!!  Of multi-time!  I love it!  This would have cost me $2000 if I had done this on my own!  And yet they pay me.  I don't get it.  It's such a blessing.

I walked over to the hotel, made a couple of phone calls, and then waited for a friend and her boyfriend to pick me up.  We headed out for pizza, then headed to their apartment for a movie.  I told them I needed to leave AS SOON AS the movie was over, and I sure did.  We watched "The Informant" (kind of dumb), and then I headed home right after that.  In the hotel room at 10:35.  In bed at 10:40.  Alarm is set for 8:00 again.

What a day.  What a crazy long, packed, and productive day!!!

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