Thursday, October 3, 2013

flying and driving

I got one of those looks from a physician's assistant today, when she read my paperwork and saw I'd put "human" down for my race. But hey, it's true - and I don't believe for a second that assorting and dividing myself and everyone around me into neat checkboxes by skin color or proclaimed fractions of ancestry is going to promote anything but racism. So, human.

When pulling out of the parking lot, I had a revelation that will make awkwardly big pickup trucks much easier to park in the future... trucks that are front wheel drive have the back end follow the front end almost exactly when you pull out. I'd been trying to drive and park the oversized thing like it was a taildragger, or a five-ton order picker, or a double-walkie, or a tugger with a long chain of cages behind it. It's a whole lot easier to pull out of a parking bay when you're not trying to watch for the back end kicking out into a the parked car next to you. *facepalm*

Tells you what I've been driving a lot lately, doesn't it? Not really, there's been a fair bit of work on a reach truck, too, and loading semis with a clamp truck. (Not fun, but it's what I had, we needed to get things moved, and I'm a certified warm body.)

Last weekend I flew in a Cessna 172, with lots of bells and whistles and the new-leather smell of a shiny young airplane. It responds to rudder inputs with all the speed and agility of a drunk three sheets to the wind, but man, are her ailerons snappy! And flaps! Wow, flaps! How cool are flaps! I miss flaps. I was way behind the airplane - even as muscle memory finally caught up, the situational awareness wasn't quite there. The CFI in the left seat seemed to think (or at least he said) I was doing just fine on the landing - but I wasn't. I mean, a nosewheel is so forgiving that I didn't even bounce on the landings, but on my T-crate, some of those would have been tuck-your-tail-between-your-legs-and-crawl-off-the-runway landings. The Cessna? Man, it probably wouldn't even have noticed if I'd landed cross-controlled and with the ailerons the wrong way for a crosswind gust. I'm used to thinking of the Taylorcraft as forgiving - compared to the squirrel-on-crack roll rate and lack of climb of a Grumman yankee, or the sheer throttle and p-factor of a properly modded supercub, she is. But a Cessna 172 - she's as friendly and forgiving, and as willing to play, as a black lab (though with much less underpants-stealing than Barkley.)

This, of course, brings my mind back to landings I made when learning to fly in a 172, and I want to tuck my tail between my legs and crawl off the internets. I've gotten better before, I'll get better yet!

(And I'm taking the CFI for a spin in my old girl this weekend, weather permitting. I wonder if it'll be as interesting for him as the Cessna was for me? He sounds so excited I better haul my butt out to the airport and wash her before then, make her as pretty as I can so he's not too disappointed when he sees a functional but far from show-piece plane.)


  1. Currency... we can haz it... Just sayin... Get yer butt back in the bird and into the pattern!

  2. Got the bird all prettied up today, and taxied to fill up her tanks with fuel. Tomorrow, currency, we shall haz it!

    ..and now I have an ANR headset, so I can hear people mumble more clearly! ...and talk to passengers. :-)

  3. Hi Winger,
    Ah the "T-cart," "Champ" and or "J-3" among others!! 'Learned to fly in a "'46 model 7-AC Champ." Between the beat up (This was 1962)65 hp. Cont. engine and the La. summer humidity and hi temp density alt. 'ya had to play "basketball" with the main gear at max RPM down the runway to get the thing into "Ground effect" to build up that extra MPH or two to sustain a climb out!! Our CAP Commander had a PA-17 Vagabond with the 65 Continental! Fun Plane!! 'Glad I learned the basics in a "Taildrager!!" 'Heard more horror stories from people who started in nosewheels about what "Deathtraps" taildraggers are!! Just had to laugh!!

  4. Staying current is a good thing. Nice Barkley reference, too. :)

  5. The 172 - snappy airerons or not, don't try and roll it, trust me on that.