Saturday, May 8, 2010

Back in the Paint Shaker--May 7, 2010

Woke up at 7:30.  The weather was lookin' good, so I grabbed the breakfast, showered, and headed over to the airport.  I had to coordinate with ATC again, as we had just recently (yesterday) been given new flight plans to work on that were inside the Class Bravo airspace.  Basically, the guy said that we would be kicked out at 10:15.  Whatever.  No worries.  So away we went.

The winds were pretty calm on the surface (I think 4 knots), but we were in for a surprise.  I flew over to the flight plan, and I believe I busted the Class B airspace before they cleared me in there, but he let it slide.  Thanks.  Anyway, I arrived on station and started my east-bound line.  It has been soooooooo long since I've completed a line!  A couple of weeks?  Needless to say, I've been ridiculously spoiled...gettin' paid to eat out, more or less.  But I was "back in the saddle."

It wasn't too awful bad to start out, but that really didn't last too long.  The plan was over an hour and a half long, and I had 23 lines.  And by line 3 or 4, it was gettin' pretty bumpy.  And it never let up.  I mean, it was bad again today.  Which I didn't understand.  It felt like we were flying over the mountains, but we were over FLAT ground!  I don't get it.  But I was getting socked was nice to have the other guys to bounce off of, but it sure didn't stop the turbulence.  It was impossible to get away from it.

At one point, I asked the guys, "Do you all remember Pong for Atari"?  "Well, I am currently watching that right now in my turn indicator."  And it was true.  My ball was just a'bouncin' back and forth, back and forth.  It was miserable.  The other guys finished before me, and I was a bit disappointed in that!  So I was left out there by myself, and it just kept getting worse.  At one point, I literally YELLED after I had failed a line.  And that's what happened with my last three lines...I had to fly them SIX times instead of the three.  I kept missing around 15 pictures due to altitude (crazy updrafts and downdrafts) and sometimes roll errors.  I was nothing short of having a bad time.  I kid you not, I literally thought about walking out on the job today.  This just isn't worth it.  We're told to fly through any type of turbulence, as it's late in the season, and we need the plans to get finished.  But c'mon.  This was literally obscene.

Well, I FINALLY finished up.   I headed back to the airport where the winds were at 7 knots...then reported as calm by the Tower.  Um, yeah, about that.  I landed and headed in.  I had logged 3.2 hours...the most time since April 18.  CRAZY.  But it was pretty hellacious.

I was actually supposed to land and take one of the other pilots up to train him in the Aztec.  But I made the executive decision and said, "NO."  I had no shame or qualms about that.  It was hard enough having one guy fly the lines, but trying to put a brand new guy in there, teaching him how to fly the Aztec, AND trusting him to maintain the tight turns?  NO WAY.  I just wasn't comfortable with it.  Absolutely no offense to the guy.  He is quite possibly a better pilot than me.  But it's just not going to happen today.  Not being below those clouds, not in that turbulence.

<sigh>  I seriously hated today.

We went out for BBQ for lunch.  And then I went to the Post Office to FINALLY mail back some courtesy car keys that I had from a month ago.  Boy, how time got away from me.  I also went to Wal-Mart to pick up some deodorant!  I think one of the guys that left this morning took mine!!!  Not cool!

The afternoon was pretty simple.  I flirted some more with Tessa and lined up a date for the night.  About an hour later, though, I received a text that it was canceled.  I didn't even have words.  ANOTHER cancellation?  REALLY?  I was quite disappointed and just sad.  So I worked out to burn off LOTS of energy.  It felt good.  I was able to run a mile without stopping (finally).  I hate being that out of shape!  But it's feeling good to get back into it again.

We went out to a Chicago-style restaurant for supper, much to my disappointment.  I was eager to sit down somewhere and maybe at least people-watch, enjoy a longer meal?  But nope...a quick lil' joint.  Oh well.  Gotta keep everyone happy sometimes.  I had a hotdog and fries...I can't even remember the last time I had a hotdog.  Seriously.

Tomorrow is scaring me.  There is a very big possibility that we might have a full day!!!  Agh!!!  Basically, the clouds are looking good, high enough to at least get into several plans.  The winds MIGHT be an issue, but it just depends...they are forecast to be out of the west at 25 knots at 12,000 and 40 knots at 15,000.  It's just so hard to say...IF they don't produce turbulence, then we should be fine.  But who knows.

But I am just dreading it all right now.  The thought of flying 9 hours pretty much sickens me.  Like...ugh.  I don't even know how to prepare for that.

But I'm goin' to start with a good night's sleep.  I'm off to bed at 10:30.  Alarm is set for 7:15.

C'mon clouds.  I think 4 hours of flying is fine by me.

(Oh, but I do have a date with Miss Tessa tomorrow.  I will be looking forward to that all day!).  And tonight, too, come to think of it...  :)

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