Do you remember Becky “I promise not to scream…EEEEEEk?!?”
of our ‘HIGH IN THE SKY‘ let’s-learn-to-fly-heli’s video series from last summer? (See the VIDEO HERE) Well, her & Joe, “PhunBobby”, and I ~ went up in the Spokane Airways 172 for quite the little flight-reunion of sorts. I had recently gotten licensed and Becky was there through proxy, curious and learning right along… Call it “the big get-even” I guess, as she was the one to embarrass me in front of all the rock listeners when we found out I could fly an airplane solo to Missoula no problem, but when it came to hovering a helicopter; I could barely keep us from dancing an aerobatic slow-waltz for more than a minute or so.
Safety is #1 on the list. So, when i felt the 30mph gusts buffeting my car ~ I wasn’t even sure we’d be removing the tie-downs, let alone piling four people into the 1500lb aircraft and departing for the hazy azure colored smoke-filled sky.
Luckily, we had some weather smarts, planning this venture for later in the day, giving mother nature a chance to relax… As the Pilot-In-Command, passenger comfort is #2 on that list. My instructor, Dave Du4, just happened to be working this day, and happily looked over my paperwork. The biggest concern; besides the winds, were the four passengers in our 4-seat plane. What if someone had “fudged” their weight a few pounds? Or had a 60lb camera? Dave made sure I knew the density altitude of our 2,475′ above-sea-level airport that day was 5,600′ and the Runway only 6,400′ long.
So, I added a “fudge” factor, determining we may be as little as 30lbs of max. So~ we removed some fuel. Now I had 80lbs to “play with”. Dave was satisfied with this, giving “thumbs-up” as we all slithered onto the 109-degree tarmac for pre-flight.
Hot, isn’t the word- It was a freakin’ oven in that plane, with one window~ about the size of a microwave. I warned about “the bumps” assuring them we’d return shortly if things weren’t comfortable. We’d also scrapped plans for “touch & goes” at Deer Park simply not enough runway available, and instead, fly for “pleasure” over lake Coeur D’Alene.
Looking below it seemed everybody was out that evening! From numerous boats (looking like white caps on the lake), to the sold-out game at Avista stadium, races at Stateline & Spokane speedways,
to the small “tent-city” on Sherman Ave “Art On The Green”… (PICS POSTED IN ‘FLYBOY2′ ALBUM)
Returning, we found the “big airport” through the haze of some thick BC Forrest-fire smoke, made a rather UN-eventful 12kt crosswind landing, commented to the ground-crew how we never did find any of those ’727 shaking’ bumps reported; Just happiness, smooth air, and the most beautiful summer’s sky one could hope to fly. “Go see Dave”, I said, and “get those wings, Becky!” …when she finished screaming, that is… in pure delight of flight.