Sunday, August 3, 2008

Reaching New Heights

Yesterday I took a high tow to ensure success and I wasn't disappointed. Longest flight and highest altitude to date (1:52 and 12,000). I even chased after a Cumulus cloud about 5 miles east of Durst Mountain. It turned out to be a sucker cloud...suckered me into thinking there might be lift under it...NOT! I still had plenty of altitude to get back to Durst. It was the very first time I was out of sight of the airport. I had to fly through 9-10 knots of sink on the way back. I was doing about 80 knots but probably should have gone faster. I was happy when I found a 3 knot thermal. WHEW! About 1:15 into the flight I realized my gear was still down. I wonder how much better I could have done with it up! I had a little bit of a trouble in rough air thermals. I kept over-banking on the downwind side of the thermal. I was on the lee side of Durst and it was pretty bumpy. Still, there was plenty of lift with most in the 5-7 knot range. In the pattern I was able to get my speed (aircraft+mind speed) under control which really took the pressure off. The pattern was nice and I had an "okay" landing. Hey, one thing at a time. I think the coolest part of the whole flight was when I was on top of Durst in a 5 knot thermal with 10 degrees of flap, at 42 knots. It was so quiet and serene. I pulled out my phone and called my wife. The whole flight was a HUGE confidence booster. As I was packing up my plane I thought, "I really am a pilot!" I can't wait for more! Last night Lynn Alley and I talked about making plans for my first cross country flight which will probably be to Logan. I'm not in a hurry...okay, with the success I had yesterday, YES I AM!!!!

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