Once upon a time, a self-proclaimed Archaeology-Lifer got a job as a flight attendant. No one knows quite how it happened. Here's what happened next...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

An Unintended Hiatus

I didn't really intend to take a break from posting, but I suppose that's just the way these things go sometimes.  It hasn't been quite two weeks since my last post, but it feels like much longer since I have put much effort in here.  Life has been life, and I've been having one of those busy periods of time where you feel like you can't remember the last time you got to sleep as long as you wanted to, or spend a whole day doing whatever you wanted to do with no prior commitments.

My flying hasn't been as regular as I should like. I counted up and during August I only scraped 3.7 hours in total, a number which I shall probably surpass by mid September.  I was away, My Instructor was away, bad weather, etc etc.  About a week after my first solo I had a lesson with The Bearded One.  It was quite an enjoyable experience, having never flown with him before.  We did a couple of circuits, he determined that I was good to go, and sent me off to do four or five circuits by myself.  I didn't realise it at the time, but I had a massive adrenaline rush doing those solo circuits.  I only noticed it an hour later when I showed up to work and discovered that my hands were shaking. 

TEN DAYS later I finally got the chance to go for another lesson, this time with one of my regular Secondary Instructors.  I had hoped to get some solo circuit time in, but it was pretty windy (Ok so it was gusting 20kts...lets not be picky).  But we decided to go for a bit and see how things went.  I was concerned that it had been a while since I flew, so I at least wanted to keep my hand at it.  It was clear after my first take-off though that I was not going to be flying solo.  The wind was making the first two hundred feet or so unbelievably bumpy, and I found it a real struggle to keep control of the plane.  The Instructor gave me the choice to go solo(although I think he was just testing my judgement) but I said hell no.  We did a grand total of twenty minutes, and the wind was a real challenge.  It was the first time I had tried to take-off and land in a strong  headwind, and while it was interesting, I definitely felt myself begin to sweat a bit.  I wasn't comfortable flying by myself, and to be honest I was even getting stressed with the instructor being there to help me, so we called it a day.

Another ten days passed and on Saturday I finally got back in the air again.  It was an absolutely beautiful morning for flying, and I felt butterflies of excitement in my stomach as I drove into the city.  I scored my favourite plane (LKN) and my heart did an excited little dance.  Flying on a gorgeous morning, barely a breath of wind, with My Instructor and then solo in My Favourite Plane?  What could be better?  It felt like forever since I had worked with My Instructor, so it was actually quite nice to have him raise an eyebrow at me and give me a hit of that dry sense of humour when I came in from my walk around to admit (rather sheepishly) that I had somehow managed to get the fuel pipe all tangled up on the rack and couldn't get it unstuck.

We did two circuits and everything went pretty well, although I had some interesting and different clearances from ATC - unfortunately our multi-engine JFE was sitting on runway 25, having suffered a nosegear collapse, so the tower was a little tense and busy that morning.  Heartbreaking about the plane though, it was a bit of a mess, and will take a fair bit of time to be repaired so I understand.

The circuits went well, so My Instructor sent me on my way for an hour.  My first take-off was less than pleasant.  I came unbelievably close to hitting a goose, and in a moment of blind panic I realised I had very little idea about what to do if that actually happened.  I wasn't even sure what kind of effect that would have on my little Cessna 150, but the alarm bells singing in my head informed me that it would be really bad news.  Somehow the goose and I missed eachother, so that was good.  However the whole encounter did little to repair the ill relations that goosekind and I have been having for years now.  It would take a UN meeting of epic proportions to have us be allies.

Once my heart vacated my throat and I was able to breathe again, I turned crosswind and downwind, and pulled off a nice landing.  Several more landings (and a few more tense moments with gulls) later I felt pretty comfortable.  I had one landing where I knew I was going to be awfully high, despite my best efforts, and it became clear I would have to do a full-flap overshoot.  I did my best to not let my nerves get the better of me, and pulled it off relatively well.  I'm sure it wasn't perfect, but that's what practicing is all about. 

When I landed I took delight in entering a full 1.1 hours of solo time in my log book - I am now just hovering under 30 hours in total, and just under 3 hours solo.  I also made sure to request that My Instructor goes over some emergency procedure type things in my next lesson.  Such as what I should do if I actually hit a bird and sh*t Goes South for the Winter.  What registered in my mind as a pretty close call with a Real Problem made me realise that I am perhaps not as comfortable as I would like to be with emergency procedures, so we must work on that, hopefully later on this week!

I do have some flight attendant related entries planned (including Delta and Echo in my Flight Attendant ABCs series), but for now I have a plane on its way in which requires greeting.