Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Back in the Sky

In which Aviatrix has no fear.

After equipment delays and weather delays and walking all around town looking for Mexican restaurants that only existed on Google, or were hidden in otherwise abandoned shopping malls, I finally got to fly in the area. The FBO gives us cookies and hot chocolate and candy, and tows our airplane out of the hangar.

One of the taxiways is closed so we have to cross over the runway and taxi up the other side. This is explained apologetically on the ATIS and again by the controller. Heck, in Canada they would have only built the one taxiway and you'd have to do that all the time. And the taxiway would be half the width and there wouldn't be a tower.

There's a moment's wait at the threshold, I can't remember why, and then we're cleared for takeoff. Vrooom! I miss it when I don't get to fly for a while. The airplane climbs easily and ATC gives me plenty of time to get stabilized and complete after take-off checks before they call me with a frequency change.

ATC is so laid back that after a while I suspect they have forgotten about me. Even though I can keep up with changes in the altimeter setting just by listening to the numbers given other aircraft, I make occasional calls requesting the current altimeter setting, just to remind them that I'm out here.

The mission specialist in the back is training another person on new equipment. They are using my intercom system, so I listen in and find out what they are doing back there. It would probably make more sense if I could see their screens.

I can see some nice lakes down there. They're just outside of town. I wonder why the town isn't built more on the lakes. In my experience, towns usually follow shorelines, because that's a source of water, transportation, and cooling on hot days. I guess this community has grown around a train station or something. Or maybe they are nasty smelly lakes and they only look nice from the sky.

It's hot again today. The temperature has bounced between freezing and t-shirt weather, literally 0 to 20 overnight. The locals say it's normal, and that it will get cold again soon.

At the end of the flight I hand the airplane over to my comrade and she will fly the afternoon shift.


Anonymous said...

Texas is fraught with lakes. You can't swing a dead armadillo without getting it wet and stinking up your hands.

I hope ATC is as accommodating and just damned good as they are in Canada. Serious pros.

Anonymous said...

"or maybe they are nasty smelly lakes..." Ha! You really hate Texas!

Anonymous said...

Most lakes in TX are made by dams. So they came after the people did to provide year-round water and flood protection. The town was already there.

Anonymous said...

Extending what Tangozulu said, there is only one natural lake in Texas (and very few natural ponds). Almost all are man-made, and they were made long after the towns grew.

Callsign Echo said...

I love that feeling when you take off for the first time in a while...so sweet...

On another note:

John Macilree is spamming the crap out of your blog with these fake backlinks.

Checked out his site and it is all feeds from other blogs and repackaged news. No original content.

I would flame one of his posts but I think it's much more cruel in the blogosphere to ignore someone entirely.

Note after each post "0 Comments. 0 Comments. 0 Comments." It's what he deserves for trying cheap tricks to steal traffic.

Welcome to the Interweb, John.



Great post, Aviatrix. Keep em coming.

Anonymous said...

I miss it when I don't get to fly for a while.

Me too, sister. When I only flew gliders I'd had a long winter off-season which made me grumpy and disaffected .. more than usual.

What is it about being aloft that is so soothing? The views. For indoor desk-bound types like me, the opportunity to have my eyes focus at infinity for a change. The perspective - you're above the world and its petty economic issues. And the challenge in trying to make every flight as "perfect" as possible. In my case, usually spoilt right at the end, at the landing. :)

Aviatrix said...

John Macilree is spamming the crap out of your blog with these fake backlinks.

When I first had problems with backlink spam from another blog I thought it was the fault of the originating site and wrote to them, but they were very helpful and determined that it was google/blogspot interpreting a blogroll as links.

But if this particular one is just feeds, then I'll start deleting the links.

Anonymous said...

"[regarding American Eagle]... If I could get a green card I could get an airline job like that"

Hi there, I've been following your blog for years and I've posted a few times.. I had to jump on this quote because how often does a guy get to propose randomly over the internet? Just thought I'd try... I'm a dual US-Canadian citizen (born in the US to Canadian parents) and if you married me you'd be able to get way better than that green card! Ok, in all seriousness, you can't blame me for trying :)

Anonymous said...

I think we are all glad that you are airborne once again. I have been listening to various approach controls via liveatc.net, particularly DFW and LAS, listening for "Y'all on final?" comments, with no success. However I have noticed that the occasional aircraft reports that it is "with Juliet" or "Oscar, Tango, Papa, India, Uniform, Kilo" One checked in "with Whiskey"! Perhaps in some future blog, you could elaborate on what these secret codes are. Thanks. Long time reader on Canada's south coast.

Anonymous said...

My wife was born in the United States to Canadian parents also. We live in Canada and I am a Canadian. When she went to apply for a Canadian passport, she discovered that she did not have dual-citizenship automatically, that is, she was American because she was born there, but not automatically Canadian because of her parents nationality.
She had to apply for Canadian citizenship, which was eventually granted after months of paperwork. Tom, you are an American for sure, but you may not be a Canadian, unless you have applied for and been granted Canadian citizenship.

Richard said...

You mention here changing altimeter setting. Is this what I learned as QNH and QFE (or did Q-Codes die before you started flying?) during my brief 13 hours of flying training, before it was decided that I wasn't really fitted to steer a bike, let alone a Chipmunk?

Aviatrix said...

I'll do a separate entry about altimeter settings.