Why go for a Night Flight?

Flights at night are great because all is calm, usually quiet, and the view during the preflight is unbeatable! 🙂

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First time flying experiences are always the best! This is flying from the perspective of fresh eyes! 🙂

Customs and Border Protection

I still want to be a helicopter pilot! Is that silly?…well, considering I can’t finance it, yes…but I still say they can do some pretty cool stuff!

Okay, yes I’m a traitor, but to distract everyone from that…here’s a couple pictures of CBP’s (Customs and Border Protection) helicopter in Grand Forks, ND…enjoy!

Cheers,

Up in the Air

Natural Character – Trinity Center Airport (O86)

A short time ago I wrote about flying into Quincy Airport, and flying into the middle of a fly-in (see Love of the Mountains). That same day my friend and I continued on to several airports. First we stopped at Lake Almanor – Rogers Airport (O05…That’s O-zero-five), walked in…talked to some friendly people at the local…uh…flight club (it was small), then decided to continue on. It was a beautiful flight in, but nowhere to really go whilst on foot – at least not that we were told. I have a couple of photos but couldn’t find them while writing this, so I’ll have to wait on them and post them when I do. On the other hand, I have several photos from our next stop, Trinity Center Airport (O86).

We flew in over the lake so we could be at a good altitude getting to the airport. We could have circled and dropped down over the top, but the view in was much better this way (after all who likes seeing the same thing, over and over again?…don’t answer that!).

It was a beautiful flight and a beautiful airport to go into. Remember how I said there was nothing in walking distance of the last airport? Well…such was the case here too, in all honesty, but we did make it into the VERY small town and managed to grab a bite from a local hole-in-the-wall…don’t remember the name, which is good I guess because the food was eh…people were nice though! I suppose we weren’t there for the food any way. HIGHLY recommended to fly into (or at least by this area, the local mountains are called the “Trinity Alps“).

The airport is right on the water, with a river running by the north side of the airport, and amazing views all around. I’ve never flown into a prettier place…and can’t wait until I do because that means it’ll be spectacular! 🙂

To many memories,

Up in the Air

Mount Rushmore

After departing from my fuel stop in Rapid City, SD (KRAP) I asked for the “Mount Rushmore Tour” from ATC, they were very helpful and gave me headings to help me find it! Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help from Air Traffic Control, in this case it was for a fun reason, but the help can just as easily be used to save your life!

Mount Rushmore – April 17, 2008

Cheers,

Up in the Air

Is there a RIGHT way to change the runway?

I’m stubborn…very stubborn.

I flew into a non-towered airport today with two runways. It was mid-morning, so the wind had shifted at some point from calm to out of the south. The runways were 10/28, 18/36. Winds shifting between 170 and 200 at 6-7 knots. There were a couple other airplanes in the pattern for 1-0, and I imagine they had been there for the past hour or so since they were using that runway. And here I come, out of the Northeast, looking to set my struggling student up with the fewest worries. No tower, calmer winds, and so on. We set up the way we should for runway 1-8, calling inbound, saying our intentions to cross mid-field and enter back on a right 45.

One of the instructors already there jumps on and tells me “a couple aircraft are already using 1-0”.

What do I do? Of course this had to be on an off-day, a day I’m not in the greatest of moods (a whole blog could be made into why no one should fly in a bad mood!)…So I reply “Winds are at 1-8-0, at 7 knots, I’m trying to switch it up to the more favorable runway”…and I bluntly add in, “go back to [insert home airport here] airport and get your crosswind practice there!” Shouldn’t have said that, I know, but again…not off to a great start for the day.

“The wind is barely noticeable, you’ll be okay.”

Now we’re attacking my skills? “Just trying to teach my student right, trying to use the right runway.”

Eventually the couple of planes switched over and continued on as if nothing happened.

So I have a question today…did I take the right action?

I could have easily entered the pattern for runway 1-0 and dealt with the light crosswind/tailwind and gone on with the day. But at what point do we say there needs to be a change? Winds were forecast to be out of the south for the entire day, so at what point does someone finally say “let’s make a change!”

Whether my actions were right or wrong (disclaimer: I’m still learning, as everyone should be, especially when it comes to flying!), should someone be met with an angry voice on the other side of the mic? Is that really constructive? I guess with every “family” there are going to be confrontations, I’m just sad to hear it when everyone is learning. My student, his student, everyone.

I’ve had the reverse happen to me. Being at an airport, winds changing, and someone else coming in and changing to the new runway. It’s inconvenient, yes, but since when is an inconvenience a bad thing in aviation? Only when you don’t accommodate for it?

Please, opinions are welcome, I’m open to new or better ways to handle situations! We are only able to make decisions to the extent of our experience, training, and the experience of others! So…what would you have done?

To more learning experiences!

Up in the Air

Originally Written: April 20, 2012 // Rewritten: April 29, 2012