Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Thursday, June 23rd

I arrived on Thursday (6/23) afternoon at about 3:00. Nary a cloud in the sky and very warm. Nobody seemed to notice my arrival so I walked up to where the action seemed to be taking place. Mark and a group of other people were repairing a starter rope on the GT400 twin. I met Charlie Powell from Hamilton, Ontario. He was such a brute that when he was helping Mark start the twin, he snatched the starter rope and broke it! I told Mark who I was and he said he remembered me. Then I met Louis Vasconcelos, also from Hamilton. Charlie doesn't fly, but Louis has an MX. They got it fixed and Mark promptly did a demo flight. Awesome! Great sound too!

Mark has so many planes that he has to remove the rudders to get them all to fit in his hangars. I helped put the rudder on the orange shorty, then went into the hangar to escape the sun. Steve Gould was preparing the trainer while I was relaxing, oblivious to everything except the fact that I was finally there after months of anticipation. Steve pointed towards the hangar and I pointed to myself and said "ME?" and he said yes. Cool! Flyin' in the trainer! I put the helmet on (I usually don't use one, but that was part of the patch rules) and we went up, up, up! I was amazed at the flatness and wide open spaces all around. You could literally fly for miles and miles just above the crops. We went about a mile to the Ohio River. Talk about beautiful! Steve tried to get me to fly, but I couldn't quite understand his hand signals, so I just let go of the stick and crossed my feet between the pedals and chilled! I was enjoying the flight big-time. I guess the minute or two I actually controlled some aspect of flight consisted of my check ride. We landed and as soon as I sat down inside the hangar, Steve asked if I wanted to take the Grey Navy plane up. I didn't need to be asked twice!

Before this weekend, I have never flown a plane with a gearbox. As I took off, everything was fine except for the fact that I could hardly hear the engine and there was no tach on the plane. The prop noise was all I could hear! I eventually throttled back enough where the plane would fly hands off...about 23-24 MPH according to the Halls indicator. The plane was smooth, gentle and predictable. I had no problem with the plane at all and slowly became familiar with the ailerons, which were nice. I flew for about 20 minutes before I landed. It was great. Steve gave me a critique of how I flew, as he did with every new plane that I flew, which was helpful. Before the night was over, I flew the Orange Shorty, which was very similar to the Grey Navy, but a bit faster and a bit more nimble. No surprises though. I sat outside with Louis and Charlie after everyone had left and drank a couple of beers, before going to bed. I didn't get much sleep, thanks to a leaky air matress. About 2AM I hear a car pull in and park. I was in my undies so I wasn't about to get dressed and see who it was, but as soon as they started to unpack and pitch a tent, I figured it was Andrew from New Hampshire, so I finally drifted off to sleep to Andrew's pounding on tent stakes.


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