Life On and Off an Acreage

In-sights into moving from an Acreage back to Town, plus a few things I find of interest.

Two things that horses are scared about:

1. Things that move
2. Things that don't move

February 9, 2010

An Official End

I was poking around the shed today looking for some ice fishing stuff when I came across my old flight briefcase. How fast time flys! It seems like only yesterday that I achieved a boyhood dream of learning to fly an airplane. The log book tells a different story. I got my student permit on 16/08/89 and achieved the rating of Private Pilot 06/11/90, and picked up a night rating 03/04/92.

The learning experience was terrific. Concentration, perseverance and conquering fear were the three things i remember well. Later on, I became a director of the local flying club and found some interesting stats while poking through the racks of log books in storage. For every 1000 students that started flying only 100 got their Private Licence. Of those 1000, only one managed to get a Commercial licence. In Canada, it is compulsory to be able to recover from a fully enveloped spin on command. The majority that left the program, left for the fear factor of spinning. I almost quit at this point, but being a stubborn type guy, I stuck it out. On the flight exam, I was asked to recover from a spin out of a right turn. I had never done one of these from a right turn so I "cheated" a bit and used the instruments to maintain orientation. That is one flight test I will never forget.
Looking through the log book, my first experience with carburettor icing occurred over Iroquois Falls, Ontario. I was at 4000 feet agl and 6 miles from the airport when the engine began to sputter and shake and cough and almost sneeze. Too far to glide, over forest, pull carb heat and then really begin to shake. I dropped about 2000 feet, had a clearing picked out to put it in when it recovered. Lesson learned! watch temperature for icing conditions. Pay attention!
My first long solo was from Iroquois Falls to Moosonnee on James Bay. In a Cessna 150, it should have been about a 3 1/2 hour flight. Due to a fast moving cold front, it took 5 hours, which put me at minimal fuel reserves. I'm at 5500 foot approaching Moosonee when I see this humungous fog bank right where the airport should have been! Now what? No fuel for a return, no alternate landing site other than a rail road track about 20 miles away. As I got closer, I could see the fog bank was in effect, reflection off the ice on James bay. This was the end of July. I didn't expect ice fog! The landing was uneventful and the refueller was kind enough not to comment on the very low fuel level.

I guess everyone who flys pushes the limits now and again. One day I decided to see what the world looked like from 12,500 feet. It seemed to take forever to climb up there, and then did I ever feel small. Here is a cessna 150 with a monocoque construction which means that if you took the skin off the aircraft, there was nothing left. I stayed there for 20 minutes or so, just cruising and viewing. I am sure that Timmons radio had other students do this, as they left me in peace. It defintely gives you a feeling of the awareness of God!

Cruising up the Abitibi River in winter at 50 feet elevation is another fond memory! If the engine had quit it would have been a landing on the river ice. No big deal, But with flaps down, nose down and banking and twisting down the river it was one of the best memories of flying. This was not particularly legal, but....

Alas, as I browsed through my log book, I noted that I have not flown for six years which says that my flying days are past, but the memories remain.

We have now moved on to horses, chickens and the like and someday will likely have to look back and say "that too was fun".

Sorry to get so nostalgic!

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