Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seat belts, loose articles, doors and seats.

  Went up today for an hour or so to polish off some instrument time I had to complete before the paperwork for the licence could be submitted.

  Three airports within 15 nm of each other were calling for either winds light and variable, all the way up to 23G34. Winds aloft were 25-30 kts, and there was a forecast for some moderate mechanical turbulence...  and they got it right.

  Had a tough time holding any sort of reasonably consistent altitude, was anywhere from -200 to +500 feet most of the time. 

  Constantly pulling power, diving, adding power, and fighting with the heading due to being tossed around so much.   

  I don't really have any issues with turbulence, even with the hood on, it doesn't make me queasy in the least. It does however piss me off in the altitude excursion department.

  Coming in final to land, was a little high due to being tossed up by the thermal activity on downwind, so turned base without much altitude loss at all. Dropped most of my power and 10 degrees of flaps on base, nothing...slight climb....  ok....full flaps, slipping turn down onto a 1-mile final. 800 feet and climbing! dammit, I cant get down..... Full flaps, full slip, power off.... for a minute or two it looked like a go-around was in the works as the runway steadily slipped further down in my field of view. You want it to stay in the same spot as you establish a glide. I should have been dropping like a stone, 40 degrees of flaps, no power, and a good chunk of my airplane facing side-on into the wind as I slipped it down sideways towards the ground in a slight dive.  But the hot air rising off the fields and all the new spring vegetation, basking in our newly-established spring sunshine, had other plans for us. 

  I laughed and noted that we might be stuck up here. Finally, the winds shifted a bit and we passed through the thermals coming off the freshly tilled fields, and she started to sink. Ended up making my normal touchdown spot for this runway, but it sure didn't look like that was going to happen when I started the approach.

  As much as I am looking forward to spending this summer in the Canadian "bush", I've had my interested piqued by two other blogs I stumbled upon, extolling the virtues of African Bush Flying.

  The Lovely Wife and I even discussed it, and we both are unequivocally IN if there is a way to make this happen.  We spent a couple years overseas previously, and this is one of the reasons that I/we have pursued this career for me, is the hopes that it would take us overseas again. Not just to visit a foreign country, but to live it. 

  By foreign, I don't mean a week in an all-inclusive in Punta Cana, with one side trip outside the resort gates to buy some sandals from one of those guys by the beach. I mean shopping in the grocery stores, establishing a phone account and getting internet hooked up, getting an apartment, a drivers licence and learning the local language, that kind of foreign.

  We'll see how this summer goes and what kind of doors are open for me next year here, but prospects around Canada don't look that great now.... It seems like its always been a hard market to crack over here. New pilots are expected to work for year(S!) on the ramp, the dock, the office, before they are allowed near even the most basic of aircraft. 

  I've worked a couple years on the ramp, while I got my training taken care of, and this year I will count as my Dock year, but I sure hope there is a full time flying gig waiting for me, somewhere in the world, by next spring.

  Struck me today while I was flying though..... I do LOVE it. It was easy during the training part to get frustrated with practising the same thing ad nauseum, and then to botch it and beat yourself up for it.

  I should have remembered this happening after completing the Private Pilots Licence, that overwhelming sense of relief and the fun-factor coming back like a house on fire.

  Even something that I dont particulary care for all that much, the instrument flying, I could have done all day without getting bored.

Getting closer to D-Day... May 5th, I fly out at 0700 for Nearest-Big-City--Ville. found out that the Greyhound Bus that I take from there to South Northtown doesn't leave till 10PM the day I arrive. So I have about 8 hours to find my way from the airport out to the bus station, with my pack in tow. I think I can handle that.... Suspect I'll end up in a bus depot, sprawled out on the floor, reading, for oh....7 and half hours..... I've been to Big-City-Ville before. Its not that big, and there isn't much to do. Even though its been 15-20C every day out here on the West Coast, this particular prairie town is still celebrating the odd foray into double digit temperatures. If it was here I was laying over, it would be outside on the grass... I think it'll be the bus depot floor out there...

  So, after the 8 hour layover in the bus depot, its a three hour bus ride to the next town. I get in late at night and the bus doenst leave till the next morning, so it'll be a hotel stay that night.

  Except. I found out that the day I am scheduled to be there ( the morning I wake up after spending the night ) THE. BUS. DOESN'T. RUN. It runs every day, except Wednesdays.... I will be there Wednesday AM.

  I tried to change my flight, but with all the extra fee's, I would end up paying more to change it than biting the bullet and staying two nights in a hotel.

  Spoke with the owner the other day and he mentioned he might be able to set me up with a ride from the last town, just call him before I leave.

    Oh well, I wanted an adventure....here it comes.


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