Woke up at 8:30 A.M. I had fallen asleep last night at 9:00 o'clock! I woke up a little after midnight, grabbed some water, brushed my teeth, and then headed back for bed. And I slept 'til this morning! I was OUT!!!
I ate breakfast, checked the weather, and then headed to the airport around 10:00. We were goin' to just do a scouting flight due to the winds. I hopped in the Aztec and listened to the ATIS. Nothin' terrible, but I heard one of the guys going out before me. The Tower advised him that the winds were currently 21 gusting to 38. My heart sank. I seriously contemplated going!!! But I figured I might as well learn how to fly the Aztec in winds like this, too. I didn't feel dangerous, but I knew it would probably be a challenge. I fired up the cameras and then headed out.
I was given Runway 28 which helped as the winds were 250 @ 25 gusting to 30. I had an intersection departure, though, so I made sure to really focus on this take-off. Basically, it wasn't too bad. I took off, sunk quite a bit, and then never stopped climbing after that. I was seriously pegged around 2000 feet/minute at one point. These winds were kickin'. I started flying out towards the mountains but realized that that would just be detrimental so I informed Tower that I would be coming back around when I was just a few miles off. I made a WIDE left downwind and circled back around. I lined up for final and my lightbar showed me that I was only doing 78 knots. CRAZY! As my airspeed indicator was pegged right on 112 knots!
The approach really wasn't that bad. Tower called 19 knots on my final...and then I think 26 knots soon thereafter. It was fairly smooth comin' in...all until about 200 feet above the surface. Then the winds were pretty gusty, and they were channeling right through the numerous hangars and buildings aligned with Runway 28. I had to quickly adjust the throttle back and forth just before touchdown, but I ended up making a pretty sweet left-wheel-first landing. And just like that, I was down! Not too bad.
I came back to the hotel, and then Kenton, Jensen, and I decided to head out for the mountains in the car. We ended up going to most of where I had already been before, and these guys weren't too exactly keen on actually hiking, so we ended up staying in the car most of the time! We found a lil' bar and grill out in the mountains where we had lunch, then drove through the foothills the rest of the time. It was kind of silly to me, but it was still nice to get out of the hotel with the guys. They wanted to go to the Coors factory, too, so I said I would join them for that, as well. I was feeling pretty crummy by this point, though, and I debated whether to sleep in the car while they did the tour. But I didn't have to worry about it, as the tours were closed! ha! Jensen was pretty mad!
So we headed back to the hotel. I got in around 3:30...perfect for me.
I laid down for a bit and almost fell asleep, but I had numerous phone calls. I also had a call late this morning that I needed to respond to. Basically, my boss asked me how FAR into the summer I was willing to commit. Aye, aye, aye. These decisions are never easy. I called Dad to talk about it, and I basically decided that I would work until June 10...almost a month after my contract but not completely taking away from the summer. The extra money would be nice (though that played NOTHING into my decision). Frankly, all I really cared about was keeping good rapport with the company AND getting some extra multi-engine hours. I sit at 190 right now...enough for, well, nothin'. I would really like to get to 250, but we'll see.
A few of us went out with Tammi and Brad at Cheddar's tonight, then I came back and spent the rest of the night in. And I had the ever-important phone call with the boss. Basically, I told him that I would stay through the early part of June...with the guarantee of my second vacation. Well, I am getting my MUCH-NEEDED second vacation in two weeks, and it's up in the air after that. It really depends if we get the oil spill contract or not. So as of now, I am planning on two more weeks of flying, a week off, and then two more weeks after that. He said they should know more around my vacation time...as to when an exact "end" date may be possible. So we'll see.
I also talked with him about other opportunities. Basically, I said that my happiness is more important to me than the obscene amounts of money I might be able to make. That's kind of a crazy thing to say, but I really believe it. So we'll see how that all turns out. That's a decision that I have been weighing pretty heavily for the past few weeks. Now that my decision is made, WOW. What an almost relief. I still wonder about both paths...the one I have chosen and the one that I could have chosen. I guess time will tell.
Ended up goin' to bed at 11:00. Alarm is set for 7:15. It looks like we actually might be working tomorrow!!! The winds are iffy in the morning, but we might be able to work on the lower flight plans. The forecast is for 50-60 knot winds at 15,000 feet, so those are no-go's. But as of now, it sounds like this plan needs to get finished no matter what. Basically, it's finish this, then a couple of plans in Nevada and then Arizona. And then I'm done!
ha! I'll believe it when I see it.
We'll see what tomorrow brings. I'm kind of eager to fly for a few (smooth) hours, though I'm not too interested in having a FULL 9-hour day. We'll just see what happens!
I have a headache, too. I've just been really blah lately. I'm really hopin' I wake up feeling GREAT tomorrow. Flying sick is anything but fun.