Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm home too...

The day after we got back from the NY trip I headed out for four days of tugging contrails through the flight levels, with stops in WI, IL, IA, TX, and NV. The route home from Las Vegas took us along the entire length of the Grand Canyon. And you're right, the Grand Canyon doesn't actually lie along a line drawn from Las Vegas to St. Louis. Sometimes negotiating an ATC clearance is like trying to sail against the wind. The best you can do is tack this-a-way, then tack that-a-way, and hopefully - sooner rather than later - you get the chance to finally put your destination on your radome, or bow, as the case may be. This time though, it worked to our advantage and we got a spectacular tour of that pretty impressive bit of real estate.

I used to fly the Western Mountains and deserts as an air ambulance pilot and I mentioned to my co-captain how much I miss it. He gave me a bit of a look and then said something about my mental wrapping being none too tight. I enjoy living in a big city, miss flying in the desert southwest, love my weekends on Nomad, and want to live on a sailboat full time while spending as many days as reasonable on the open ocean. How, he wondered, is one person so openly enamored of such utterly different environments? Don't know, but then I've never been one to claim that my wrapping is all neat and tidy.

After one night back in the Central West End I joined Deb at the boat for a short weekend, Sunday evening finding me heading out yet again. This time Flight Safety International and 3 days of recurrent training made up the point of call. As usual three days in the sim can leave a mark. Unlike last year I managed a night, non-coupled, raw data, steam gauge, ILS approach to minimums in a partially black cockpit, (think total AC electrical system failure) on the first try, without digging a simulated ditch in Mother Earth. This among other treats like multiple one-engine-inoperative approaches to misses and holds, V1 cuts during ITOs, system failures of every stripe, and a particularly enjoyable all-engines-inoperative (as in 15,000 pound glider), no-flaps, brakes or boards, manual deploy of the rolly bits, (wheels) without vertical guidance like VASI lights or GS, approach to a landing. At least with NO engines running there was no chance of a miss. (It was enjoyable mostly because I managed to make it look easier than it really was.)

But now I'm home for a while, and pretty content to be here.

1 comment:

S/V Veranda said...

I need a beer after just reading all of that, I hope you're having one too.