Saturday, April 6, 2013

F - Flying

I miss flying. I got my pilot's license 19 years ago. I last flew an airplane 18 years ago. If you didn't know, flying is very expensive. It's also one of the greatest experiences you can have. I love the feel of freedom that you get when you're 3000 feet above the ground, no flight plan, no passengers unless you want them, and nothing but the sound of the engine to disturb the peace and quiet. I used to love flying through western Oklahoma where there is nothing but miles and miles of miles and miles. Until you get to the artillery range at Ft. Sill in southern Oklahoma. Then it's miles and miles of high-speed steel and sudden death. Note to any pilots flying anywhere near Lawton, OK: make sure the winds aloft match the forecast and you are not 30 miles south of where you think you are. The Army is not amused when you fly through an artillery live-fire exercise. (On a scale of 1 to 10, that's a pucker factor of about 12.5!)

Flying definitely has its ups and downs. (Pun intended)

Ups

Landing on the 13,500 foot runway at the former Clinton-Sherman airport in western Oklahoma. It was used for B-52 training and then for C-141 cargo planes. I got to follow a C-141 on a 5 mile final. It was like a roller coaster without rails. The wake turbulence on Starlifter will toss a Cessna like a child's toy.

Taking off from Clinton-Sherman on the parallel runway at the same time as the aforementioned C-141 takes off on the main one. Most lopsided drag race in history!

Taxiing in a Cessna 152 between two F/A-18 Hornets at Fayetteville, AR.

Night flying. 'Nuff said.

Aerobatics!

And much, much more.

Downs

Artillery. Stay away from it. Seriously.

Air traffic controllers forgetting you are in their airspace and routing a Southwest 737 right over top of you. If you can see the faces of the passengers, you're too close!

Getting lost on your first solo flight away from the airport. GPS would have been nice back then.


I'll stop there. I could go on forever talking about flying. Someday I'll have the money to get current and get back in the air. Until then, I'll continue trying to sneak rides in the simulators at work.