I got tagged on a meme! Thank goodness because I don't know how much more you wanted to read about Chinese New Year and me cleaning my house.
There are rules though:
1. Link to the original tagger and list these rules in your post.
2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
3. Tag seven people at the end of the post, linking to all their blogs
4. Let them know they've been tagged.
My walking/blogging friend Will Campbell tagged me.
1. I learned how to fly when I was 15/16.
(I wrote about flying in January of 2007, but that was a different post.)
I wanted to be an astronaut. I found out you probably had to be in the military so I figured Air Force Academy for college. I also figured why not learn to fly in high school so I'd be one step ahead. My parents were game, though it would cost some money and while I would work to pay for part of it, they would pitch in. I only found out later that my mom was terrified, but she never said so and was very supportive so off I went.
David was my flight instructor and thank the gods. He was one of those magical amazing teachers who make you want to learn every single thing he has to teach. If all teachers were like him, man what a world we would live in. He was funny and positive and easy going and he loved to fly. And when we practiced landings he made time fly - pun intended. Flying for an hour in a circle on the same runway can get a bit dull as you practice various landing types. There are short field landings, soft field landings, high altitude landings and go-arounds. Go-arounds are when you are coming in for a landing but something at the last second makes you have to full-power it up and go around again without touching down. When we practiced for the full hour, we would be coming in on final approach and the David would say which type of landing we would be doing. And for go-arounds he would make me laugh because he would say "Oh NO! There's a huge herd of aardvarks (or water buffalo or ostriches, etc) on the runway, what do you do!?!?" So in between giggles: Flaps up, power up, nose up, go around.
David was a serious instructor and I always felt safe with him. When you learn to fly, from day one you sit in the pilot's seat (the left seat). The instructor can control the plane from his seat, but only does when necessary. As you get into the lessons, you, the student, fly most of the time. Only when the instructor needs to show you something do you hand over controls. And he says very clearly, "give me the controls" or "give me the airplane" and you do. It's smooth and relaxed and there are no sudden moves. Except one time when we were practicing landings.
Kahului Airport (OGG) has two runways, the main runway 2 and the shorter runway 5. OGG is right near the ocean and runway 5 is parallel to it. Here is a view of OGG (Click for bigger):
Normal flight patterns at most airports go to the right but since we would practice for an hour, we would do left hand traffic to stay out of the way of the main traffic on runway 2 and we would fly over the ocean. So one day we were practicing and I turned the airplane downwind, over the water and Dave said suddenly and a bit loud "Give me the airplane." I took my hands and feet off the controls and tried to calm my breathing. What was going on? What was the emergency? Dave cranked the plane into a steep turn and said "Look at that HUGE MANTA RAY DOWN THERE!!" and pointed. I looked and damn if there wasn't a HUGE MANTA RAY!! down there! Seriously, it was amazing and we were up about 700 feet. When my heart attack subsided and Dave gave me the plane back, we laughed and he apologized. But I love love love that even while doing something serious, he made time for something so cool like that.
My first solo was September 2, 1983 at Hana Airport (where we would also practice landings). Dave said, "Stop on this next landing, I want to use the bathroom, you just taker her around 3 times and pick me up." WOOOOOT!!!! Solo! I was smiling and singing the whole time except for when I was saying on the radio "Hana Airport Traffic, Cessna 6243 Quebec on base for runway 8, touch and go." When I picked David up, he gave me a huge hug and said he was very proud of me. I didn't need the plane to fly back that day.
Dave left for bigger and better jobs about halfway through my instruction and my new instructor was dull. I started to get bored, I was 16 and realized I didn't want to be in the military and money was tight and I didn't get my pilot's license. I stopped flying. I loved it, don't really miss it but I do highly recommend it. Flying is not hard. Seriously. It's a blast.
And David? He died in a plane crash somewhere on the mainland a few years later. There was an auto-pilot malfunction and he was gone. Thanks David L. Osman, you were a great teacher.
Me and 6243Q. (You can't see that I'm barefoot - I flew like I drive.)
Whew! I got so long winded on this one, I'm going to do the next 6 in a separate post and keep them shorter.