Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Flight Review--June 23, 2010

Woke up at 7:10 A.M.  Grabbed a bowl of cereal, then took a shower.  I looked over the online sectional chart for Springfield, but basically, I was planning on just going in and taking it as it came!  So that’s what I did…I left the house around 8:30 and headed for the airport.

The instructor was a younger guy…probably even younger than me.   He was an Embry-Riddle graduate, and he was pretty straight-forward.  We shook hands and then literally started!  He went through an FAA publication of topics and questions, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I knew 95% of them.  We had to do at least one hour of ground, but it passed by very quickly.  I had a memory lapse on three of the TOMATO FLAMES mnemonic, but that was probably the worst.  I learned that you don’t have to fly at even or odd plus 500 below 3000 feet AGL, too.  Ya always learn something.

Basically, we did about 45-50 minutes of questions (the whole syllabus), then just talked aviation for the rest of the time.  It was surprisingly (and thankfully) simple.  From there I went out and pre-flighted the Cessna 172.  It’s actually in fantastic condition…I think it’s a 1980 or so.  He came out, and we headed for the skies.

Two things I remember.  #1—After I applied full power, I honestly didn’t think we were moving!!!  We were just crawling down that runway.  It’s got a 180 HP engine, but it’s a bit different from the 500 HP I’ve been accustomed to the past couple of months.  #2—This thing shot off the ground.  Seriously, it felt like we were going to the moon at just 500 feet down the runway.  I honestly couldn’t believe we were airborne already!!!  But it wanted to climb.  Again, quite a bit different than the couple thousand feet of runway I have been using up.

But I was having fun.  We flew about 15 miles west, and then he had me do steep turns to start out.  They weren’t too bad, although it been a long while since I had banked over to 45 degrees!  From there, we climbed up to 3000 feet and did slow flight, then power off stalls, then power on stalls.  Again, a bit rusty, but not terrible.  I knew what I was doing at least.

From there, we had a simulated engine failure, and I flew down to 500 feet, talking him through my process all the way.  He had also covered up my heading indicator and asked me how to know where I was or would be going.  Not too hard.  We climbed back up to 3000, then headed back to the airport where I did a short-field landing (complete with a Tower-commanded short approach), then a soft-field landing, then a normal landing.  And that was it!!!

I felt pretty good about it all.  It honestly just wasn’t that hard.   Basic VFR maneuvers.  I came inside and had to PAY for a flight for the first time in nearly TWO YEARS.  It was painful.  I had to fork over $207.60!!!  I DO NOT like this flow where I pay to fly!!!  I like it much better when they pay me to fly!!!  Yikes.

But I’m certified for another two years.  It’s just part of going through the hoops.

On the drive home, I stopped at McDonald’s for lunch.  It was warming up.

I came back home and started plucking rocks one by one by hand from out front of my house.  It’s pretty easy since the rocks are big, so I didn’t mind.  Then the UPS guy pulled up and delivered a package!!!  MY WHEEL!  Sure enough, it was the wheel from Sears that I had ordered on Saturday.  Not bad delivery time!  It was a perfect match, so I threw it on the mower and started it up.  It ran PERFECT.  I mowed half of my yard with it just to make sure it was ready to go and then listed it for sale on craigslist.  I’m asking $150, though I’ll be surprised if it goes for that much.  But brand new, they are $329.99 at Sears.  So we’ll see.  It’s just a bad time to be selling a mower!  Everyone already has one!!!

I mowed the rest of my yard with my own personal mower, then headed back to the rocks.  The dirt was drying up rather nicely, so I headed over to Mom and Dad’s to pick up the big tiller.  The little one would just get tore up going through this mess of dirt and rocks.  I stayed over there for about an hour, helping Dad research a homemade ice cream maker.  Then I headed back home.

It was HOT.  It was over 100 degrees with the heat index.  And so stinking humid.

But my front rock area was in the shade, so I opted to work.  It was around 5:00 P.M. by now.  It tilled up rather nicely, so half of it was actually still too wet.  Oh well.  I raked up some rocks and  put them in the pile in my driveway.  But I was hot, so I called it a day.  I came inside and rested for a bit.

But then I checked the radar, and I saw a huge band of thunderstorms heading our way in a couple of hours.  <sigh>  I just can’t win!!!  We get huge thunderstorms every couple of days!!!  And this one was definitely going to hit us.  So in a quick burst of motivation, I headed back outside and started sifting the dirt.  There are sooooooo many rocks still left in this mess.  I was able to pull out another half wheel-barrow full.  And there is plenty left.  Basically, 90% of the big white rocks are out (what I originally thought was the ONLY rock there).  But I was surprised (and disappointed!) to find out that the previous owner had covered up a huge mess of purple rock with the weed barrier and white rock.  So I have the distinct honor of not only cleaning up this mess but ALSO sorting the two types of rocks.

Oh the fun!!!


Actually, I am enjoying it.  I’m just so excited for the end product!!!  I had originally planned on be completely and totally done by Friday, but the storm was going to throw a major kink in my plan.

While sifting rocks, I received a phone call from the State-Journal Register.  Basically, my mom, dad, and I will be interviewed about Couch-Surfing.  So that’s pretty exciting.  They have hosted 20 guests, and I have surfed for over 3 months.  I’d say we represent CS pretty well!  We’ll be interviewed next Thursday.

I came inside to rest for good around 6:45.  I was only inside for a couple of minutes when the door bell rang.  Mom and Dad had come by to surprise me!  Mom had brought a gorgeous sight, too:  McDonald’s sweet tea.  My second one for the day!!!  Woo hoo!  They only stayed about 15 minutes, though, as I had other plans for the night.

So around 7:40, I headed to my friend’s house.  I’m going to be mowing their yard for the rest of the summer.  The dad of the family has taken a pilot job.  Yup, they still exist!!!  But here’s the catch.  It was in a different country.  In a different continent.  Way across the pond.  Frankly, it’s kind of frustrating to me.  Here’s a 6500-hour pilot with 4000 hours of jet time, and he has to leave his family for a year just to stay in aviation.  It was bittersweet for me to visit with him.  I’m excited he is flying again, but I just know the pains it is going to wreak on his wife and family.  Frankly, it makes me quite sad to think about.  But I love them all to death.  And I’m eager to help out with their yard.

I stayed over there for 2 ½ hours.  Ate some pizza, ate some cookie dough, watched very aggressive thunderstorms pass through, then headed back home.  Ended up back home at 11:35.

I was in bed at a too late 12:50 P.M.  I’m setting the alarm for 9:00 tomorrow.  With the very wet yard now, I really can’t do any landscaping work.  AGAIN.  AGH!!!  So much for finishing Friday.  Oh well.

Not really sure what I’ll be doing tomorrow…

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