I kicked off my weekend with a flying lesson. It was a bumpy and windy Saturday afternoon, and landing in a crosswind is difficult. But My Instructor and I flew over to Carp for some practice in uncontrolled circuits, which was quite enjoyable, except for the part where I did a terrible job of an overshoot. I should have seen it coming when My Instructor put my flaps all the way down, but I didn't. I know the steps, I memorized them ages ago, but somehow they dropped out of my head. Oops? My thought process was as follows:
- What do you mean "someone's on the runway", no one is on the runway, I'd be able to see them...
- Oooh, it's a training exercise. I get it.
- But I want to land, I need the practice!
- Oh sh*t, I have to do an overshoot
- Wait, how does that go again?
Still no real progress on that landing, but I've had lots of words of encouragement, and I'm going to try and do as My Instructor suggested and just focus on everything else, because my much-desired graceful landing will come eventually.
Following my lesson I hopped on a plane to deadhead to YYZ. It was interesting to fly back over the Carp aerodrome again, this time from a much greater altitude in a B737. At that point I got the idea to have a go at attempting to navigate with my map, which was still in my bag. And yes, I am a huge geek. But it was fun and a bit challenging to try and match the lakes on the ground to the ones on the map and track our route.
We landed in YYZ, and I was delighted when we pulled into a gate right next to not one but two Boeing 747s! One was KLM, and the other was Air France. Unfortunately, the angle of the terminal made it impossible for me to get a good shot once I had deplaned.
Didn't stop me from trying though...
I sat myself outside the gate for my next flight and stared out of the window, hoping for one of them to taxi past. It didn't look hopeful, but just as I was about to step onto the bridge and board my next flight, there went Air France in all its gorgeousness!
The flight from YYZ to YYT was relatively uneventful. I spent most of the time studying for my PSTAR. The girl in front of me was a royal pain, and kept putting her seat up and down and up and down, and not gently either, all the while I've got my books and papers and things on my tray table. She kept knocking my AIM onto the floor, which I would then struggle to pick up with no space because her chair was all the way back. I wanted desperately to punch her in the back of the head. Eventually I burst out with a frustrated "OH MY GOD make your mind up!" which earned me a dirty look from her mother, but she finally decided on her seat all the way back. Sigh. We got into St John's at Stupid AM and crashed at the hotel. St John's is my favourite place to stay when on a pairing, because they put us up in a gorgeous hotel which has the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in.
Watching my favourite plane land and taxi into the gate had me doing a little dance of giddy excitement. The two gallons of coffee I had consumed helped. I was a little wired. The flights went smoothly - easy service and no real problems. Although I had initially expected a plane full of firefighters, I was a little disappointed to discover that we were actually moving Cadets. It was pretty cool to see them all in their uniforms... I want the navy blue one in a serious way... But 150 firefighters would have been a bit more pleasing on the eyes...
The last leg of the flight was a ferry flight, which meant three things. One - that we had to clean all the tray tables because they were icky. Two - I was allowed to sit in the flight deck for the take-off and landing, which made my MONTH! And Three - time for a Flight Attendant Photoshoot!
Being in the flight deck for take-off and landing was amazing. It certainly wasn't the first time I've had the opportunity, but it was the first time since I started my own flight training, and the whole experience was so much more appreciable now that I am able to recognize a bit about what is going on. I had the biggest, goofiest grin on my face during take-off. And naturally I attempted to take a million and four photographs.
We flew over Niagara Falls while we were inbound to Hamilton, and it proved tricky to get a decent shot. Still, it was incredible to see the falls from above!
We finished off the pairing with drinks and a lovely dinner at a restaurant called "Spice Avenue", which the First Officer suggested, and it turned out to be one of the best meals I've had in ages. And accompanied by an amazing "Asian Pear Mojito".
Over dinner, we mostly talked shop - the pilots gave me lots of awesome advice. I love how willing people are to talk to me about my learning to fly. I don't want to feel at like I am pestering people for information, and I really don't want to bug anyone, so it's very nice to find people who are actually willing to take the time and talk with me and share tips that they think will benefit me. It all comes together to build up the confidence I need to have in myself.
To round out a wonderful weekend, we deadheaded back to YOW on Air Canada on an Embraer 190. Although the flight itself was really bumpy, the landing was absolutely amazing, the best I've ever experienced. On the way out, I poked my head in the flight deck to check it out, and saw a woman sitting in the left seat! Colour me inspired!!!