04 May 2007

Away for Three Weeks

I had not flown in three weeks and I was just flat-out itching to get in the air.

Ol' Leo definitely had it right: "For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return." [Leonardo Da Vinci]

Weather and other responsibilities had conspired against me for what seemed like forever, but today was a beauty morning and I pre-flighted my plane as quickly as I could, double-checking everything so as not to miss anything in my eagerness. By now, the preflight inspection is fairly routine but I must make myself focus - do not want to miss anything because gravity is ceaseless and unforgiving.

Especially of pilots eagerly seeking to escape her grasp.

Wind calm. Not a cloud to be seen. Add full power, roll down the runway, smoothly rotate and rise into the still morning air.

Indescribable, the feeling of watching the ground drop away beneath me as my craft lifts me into the fluid blue sky. The air flowing over and under the wing of my plane, carrying me above the smog blanketing the area.

I seem to breathe more easily up here. I belong here. Relaxed. Calm. Thrilled beyond words that I am able to do this.

Relaxed and calm, yet more focused and more alive than down there, because I know for sure that my actions determine my fate up here in a very tangible way.

Heading north to Longmont to practice landings and takeoffs, there is somewhat surprisingly little traffic this day. Except for a flock of ten large birds a little off to my right - pelicans. Gotta keep an eye out for them and others. Big birds like pelicans, herons, hawks, and eagles can put a serious hurt on the thin skin of my plane. Maybe even make it uncontrollable. Small ones can too but the big ones are especially dangerous.

Approaching Longmont (KLMO) from the south, wanting to practice my short-field and soft-field technique. Do a couple short-field landings, touching on the markers, still a bit long but reasonably acceptable.

Then I nail a soft-field landing to really write home about - kept the nosewheel off and the plane on the mains halfway down the runway before pushing full power and climbing out again. A thing of beauty I said to myself! Ryan - you'd be proud of me.

Jumpers (skydivers), more pelicans, and a few other planes to keep tabs on, then I'm out of the pattern and headed back to Jeffco, or rather, now it's "Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport" or Metro. I rather liked Jeffco but I suppose Metro will grow on me . . .

Couple more touch-and-gos at Metro, then a full-stop landing and taxi to McAir, my flight school/club. Fun and adventure over for now, but boy what a great start to the day!

I might even do some work.

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