The day is hot but
comfortably breezy, the sky a hazy blue, heaped with pearl-colored
candyfloss clouds. Cumulus. The turbulence
The place is Waterloo
Regional Airport (YKF). The plane is
a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, C-GTLY (Tango-Lima-Yankee), a four-seater.
The camera is loaded. The flight
plan is filed. It's
high noon. A good day to d— er, fly.
Shelly, my fearless instructor, finds me a headset
and hands me the keys.
We do the walk-around together,
making sure all the nuts and bolts and rivets are still intact.
I bleed off a little av-gas from the
wings and hold it up to the light. Blue. No water. This is good.
Shelly shows me how to check the gas tanks with a dipstickand double
check the oil levels. We kick the tires and and then make sure
the propellers are smooth and the elevators, rudder, and ailerons
I take the pilot's seat, pushing
this and pulling that, nodding as if I know exactly what I'm doing.
Turn the key. Raise the flaps.
Open the throttle. Follow the yellow line. No problem. This is much
easier than the simulator. Feet firmly on the pedals, I weave drunkenly
up the middle of the runway, but only for the first hundred yards
or so... then my feet figure it out and I'm on the straight and narrow.
The plane ahead, another
introductory flight, runs off into the ditch. Shelly says "See?
You're doing great! Now, just pull back on the yoke..."
Whoop! I'm flying! Doing
compass headings, finding the horizon and aiming for landmarks,
... accidentally descending once. "Um
... are we all right?" asks Shelly, hands not quite on the controls.
Hey, no problem!
It's hot and hazy. No long distance
vistas, but with so much to think about, I decide it's just as well.
The turbulence isn't the bumpy kind. It feels like something grabs
on and tugs, pulling sideways or giving a little shake. I'm constantly
correcting to stay on course.
I fly all the way to West Montrose
to see the covered bridge, then on over the Elora
on till morning sounds
good to me, but apparently Shelly has places to be.
Landing looks easy, but Shelly
decides to take over just before touchdown....something
about keeping the nose up and landing with the wheels down.
Final words: What a rush! I really
do love research!
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