Thursday, May 27, 2010

Photo Flying

Had a bit of fun today, even if "today" started about 7 hours after "yesterday" ended. Woke up at 6:30 and flew with Francis about 7. We had to pick up an IFR clearance to get above the fog/haze layer - visibility was only 2 miles. As soon as we got 100' off the ground, the sky was clear and we were above the layer. Huntington Tri-State Airport is on top of a hill, so it looked like an island in mist, and that is where we went to practice taking off and landing the plane while waiting for the fog to burn off.

I am really happy with how he is doing. The deadline of June 24th for getting his license is fast approaching, but we have a detailed, realistic plan to get him finished up. We are flying again Monday (he can't fly this weekend because he is on call), and if his landings are as consistent then as they were today, I will be signing off my first solo student Monday or Tuesday. Shortly thereafter, maybe Friday, he will go take his written, and then he is off to work with Bill Peters (who will also be giving the exam) so that he can pass in the minimum time possible.

We finished flying about 8am. I started fueling another of our planes in preparation for my photo flight at 8:30. Got ready, met the photographer, we discussed our route, checked fuel requirements and weather, and took off into a rather hazy morning. Flight visibility was probably around 8 miles, and didn't really get better because the air is so humid. We flew a big square, about 40 to 60 miles per side. We would climb up and cruise to the photo site, then descend and fly a tight square around each structure or feature. We took shots of schools, highways, and other things the engineering company had built or was in the process of building. We also took pictures of the Air National Guard project at the Huntington Airport and the Bluestone Dam construction project. It was a lot of fun, and it really felt good to be able to fly so precisely. Hell, it felt good to fly. With students, I log all the time, but often don't actually touch the controls at all unless I sneak some corrections in during the landing flare. Today, I was the only pilot aboard, and actually controlling (as opposed just commanding) an airplane was a treat.

Now I'm done for the week, and while I can't wait to get started on Monday, I'm glad to have a couple days off.

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